AIFS Customized Faculty-Led programmes help study abroad students to achieve their dreams and see the world through new eyes. This Summer, Miguel Cruz, is a first generation SBBC college student took part in the Shakespeare and Narrative in Film in London, England . The SBCC Study Abroad program with AIFS helped Miguel to see that his dreams could become a reality. Read more below and learn what Miguel discovered over his program in London:
Dreams come true
The Shakespeare and Narrative in Film in London, England program affected me in so many positive ways. It is hard to accurately describe them. Due to having a poor upbringing and growing up with people who were in similar financial situations, I never imagined myself halfway around the world! The Benjamin A. Gilman Study Abroad Scholarship I received gave me the confidence that dreams really do come true. I had always dreamed of traveling the world, but I never knew anyone who actually did it. In turn, I never thought my dreams would materialize since I never saw my dream mirrored in anyone who looked like me or came from the same place as me.
One of the most important things I took away from this experience was that we, as human beings, have so much more in common than we have differences. While walking down the street one day in London, I saw people of all races and ages dancing in the street to the rhythm and lead of Latin Guitar. This seemingly insignificant moment to other people changed something inside of me just when I was feeling so out of place as a Mexican-American in England.
Celebrating our differences
In this moment, I saw what the world would look like if we celebrated our differences instead of demonizing them – it was one of the most beautiful moments of my life! I learned that humans are inherently good and we all have a basic need to belong somewhere with some people. The institutions in place and people in power try to blind us to that fact. This trip was filled with so many little moments and insights of what it means to be a part of the human race. There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’, just ‘us’!
The Big Moments
Taking a picture with Big Ben, watching Shakespeare plays at the Globe Theater, and punting along the canals of Cambridge University were just some of the ‘big moments’ on my study abroad. Aside from the field trips assigned for us as a group, I used my free weekends to travel to Spain, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. I made everlasting memories and met people I will never forget.
The curriculum was amazingly insightful and I will carry what I learned with me forever. I learned to interpret and appreciate the writings of Shakespeare. I will never watch movies the same way again thanks to our amazing “Narrative in Film” professor who was so knowledgeable and wise. For my final project, I wrote a sonnet in the style of Shakespeare and performed it to a hip-hop beat. One of my favorite take-away’s was the timelessness of Shakespeare’s stories because of how they relate to human nature and how they are still seen today in movies such as The Lion King and shows like Sons of Anarchy.
Once again this trip abroad re-affirmed to me that the human experience is a beautiful thing that can be transmitted and transported through space and time, through various different mediums such as storytelling, music, poetry, and of course traveling and visiting other cultures.
Miguel is a majoring in Psychology with an emphasis on Addictive Disorders Counseling at SBCC. One day, he hopes to work with at-risk youth, formerly incarcerated people, and people who are struggling with addiction in his community after he gets his master’s degree and Ph. D. His hobbies include writing poetry, listening to music and playing guitar.