Brenda with SMU-in-Paris

Brenda is a junior majoring in journalism and French who is studying with SMU-in-Paris this fall.

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Life Outside the Bubble

Sometimes I get really frustrated because in my head I have this clear picture of what it is I want to communicate through words, but when I sit down to write it down, it doesn’t exactly come out the way I want it to, or it doesn’t sound as articulate as I would like it to.

But recently, I have been doing a lot of thinking (that will hopefully translate into the written word) about my experiences here in France and about my time abroad. I have realized in the short amount of time that I have been here that there is a life outside of our bubble. Well, obviously, everyone know that. But do they understand it? Because I didn’t.

I will be the first to admit that I live in a bubble. I live in Dallas, TX, in the bubble that is SMU where approximately 11,000 students go about their daily work on the beautiful campus that we find in Highland Park.

I attended a Catholic Sacred Heart school in Houston (all girls, I might add) for six years, and if anything, my education taught me to look beyond myself and my world and to realize what else is out there. Well…that’s easier said than done. Since being abroad, I have come not only to realize life outside the bubble, but to experience it, and to try to understand it. Sure, life is full of days when you get up and you don’t feel like going to class, or you are really excited about that upcoming frat party this weekend, but I have recently learned that it is so much more than that.

I think this realization was brought on by the events of last week and this week in the area of international relations. After hearing almost nothing about September 11, I tried to think about what French people must have felt when they heard about the attacks on the World Trade Center. I put myself in their position. Did they feel that the problem was so far removed from them that it barely even made a dent in their day? Or did they feel that the problem was closer to home, and that if it hadn’t been in the U.S,. that it could have been here? Could it have happened to them?

I’m a little ashamed to say that if I were back in Dallas right now, Kouchner’s announcement on Monday about preparing for war with Iran would not have made me rethink the past six years and the problems facing the world today. I would have sat and read about it, even talked about the news in a few of my journalism classes, but I would not have been worried about what could happen a week from now. I would continue to live in my comfort zone where I am convinced that the world’s problems are far bigger than me, and that things like war don.t come close to affecting me and the life that I live.

So all of a sudden the bubble is starting to get smaller and smaller. and I realized that just because a problem seems far away and isn’t necessarily affecting us, doesn.t mean that it isn.t our problem to deal with.

So what do we do when the bubble finally breaks? Do we continue in another bubble and go on with our life as we have only ever known it, or do we take that step outside and experience change?

I’d like to know.

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