Hello friends, my name is Snow White (yes, like the Disney princess) and I studied abroad in Melbourne, Australia at Deakin University in the fall of 2015. I am a cell and molecular biology major and currently a senior just about to graduate.
During my time in Australia the political climate was a bit calmer than it is currently. The 2016 election was still over a year away but the campaigns were in full swing. This allowed me many opportunities to have conversations with others about our differing cultures and political climates. Not only was I having discussions with my Australian friends, but other Americans I was meeting, and people from countries all over the world. It was so important for me to remember while I was abroad that as a part of their culture other countries have completely different political systems.
In fact, in Australia they elect the party, and not the leader. Therefore when they are unhappy with the Prime Minister, they can change them in and out for what seemed like anyone else in the party. I was completely baffled when overnight they kicked Tony Abbott out as PM, elected Malcom Turnball, and then by the time I was getting ready to leave they were unhappy with him and thinking of putting Abbott back in. Another thing that my friends had no idea was so different about America is that we are not legally required to vote, whereas in Australia you may be fined for not going to the polls.
Differences like these allowed me to have regular conversations about American society and culture, and I was surprised at how positive and interested all my friends were of our political climate. Every Monday night my roommates and I would watch a comedic trivia show called Have You Been Paying Attention and they always tried to beat me when answering the questions on American current events. This was always so much fun, and it was heartwarming that they tried so hard to learn about my culture as they took me into their home, as I was trying to do with theirs.
Overall, I think being a citizen of the world isn’t just about seeing as many places as you can or trying all the food, but getting to truly know the people, and sharing your culture and ideals and opening your mind up to new ways of thinking.