Blog Excerpt – Soul Abroad
(Photo Credit: Shannon Courtney)
Matt Randolph ‘16
Still, as much as I love museums, I felt a harmony in having a balance between humanity and nature when traveling that I didn’t before. I stopped thinking of my study abroad experience just as a history major, but as a student living abroad simply to learn: both in the classroom and beyond, both from the human past and present as well as from Mother Nature. Human societies and the natural world are two interconnected sides of the same coin. I think all study abroad experiences should allow students to appreciate both the human cultures of a place as well as its natural environment.
My study abroad group and I had the opportunity to converse with an indigenous woman who lives independently in the Chilean desert, raising goats even though her children have moved on to nearby towns. She felt more connected to her indigenous past by opting for a humble life of mindfulness in touch with nature, finding strength in how her ancestors had learned to continually adapt to the environmental challenges of life in a desert. She emphasized to us travelers that human beings are a part of nature, not a phenomenon apart from it. It’s no question that we take and eat from the natural world in order to survive. Although I don’t think I have the courage to give up the comforts of “modern” life, that’s beside the point. It’s just about working to be more mindful that human life is about more than cities, new gadgets, and social media updates.“ (An Excerpt from “Traveling within Chile: Northern Deserts and Southern Lakes”)
Like what you’ve read? This is from Matt’s study abroad blogging through the Amherst College Office of Study Abroad. Read more about Matt in Chile here!