A New Type of Travelling: Academic Tourism

For most of my conscious adult life, I’ve struggled with public education. Like all other students in my country, I would sit at a desk and be taught the same thing as everyone else. My intelligence was measured by the same generalized tests as the other 50 million students in The United States. Though I failed miserably in many classes through high school and college, I still felt like I was smart.

Up until a couple months ago, I was a student like any other in the system. I was a Political Science major and a World Religions minor. In my college courses, I either got an A or an F. Considering I was basing much of my intellect on a letter grade, this was very bad for my confidence. I felt stupid and unsuccessful. But rather quickly I learned that this wasn’t the case. Just because I won’t write an essay the exact way a professor demands I do, and just because I can’t memorize and automatically accept the information out of an overpriced textbook, does not mean my intelligence is feeble and invalid.

I finally realized and accepted that I am actually smart. So I dropped out of college and started to pursue my own education. I will not succeed if I try to conform to public and generalized education. A ‘custom education’ will show my future employers that I didn’t just drop out of college and fall into the circulation of food industry workers. Little did I know, I had already started. In 2014, I attended a French language school in Nice, in the South of France, and earlier this year I studied Italian in Rome. I’ve always been passionate about languages and foreign cultures, and have been pursuing an unconventional education for a while now.

When I was in Rome, I was accepted and enrolled in a business school called Praxis. Praxis prides themselves in being exactly what I was looking for; an unconventional style of education. There are only about a hundred students enrolled and they range from college dropouts to ambitious middle-aged parents. Praxis is an apprenticeship program that promises to accelerate your career. In October I will start my three-month intensive, to prepare me for my six-month apprenticeship, and consequently a salary job in an ambitious and impressive start-up company.

Commencing in October, I will study a variety of subjects including macroeconomic policy, market dynamics, and economic thought. I will learn how to handle programs like Excel and how to operate Facebook Ads. I will be guided by a personal advisor on a weekly basis, and soon be placed into a start-up company where I will be working 40 hours a week. Because of my requests during the application process, it is most likely that I will be working for a media and marketing company in Boston, Massachusetts, starting in January of 2018.

Now until that time comes, I’m going to be keeping pretty busy. Luckily, my parents are entirely supportive of my unique and global search for education. They understand that in a world of increased globalization, an understanding of language, culture, and the multinational community will be invaluable in my future career. This is how I created Academic Tourism.

On Thursday, I leave for London, where I will be for nearly two weeks. There, I will be attending a conferenced at Chatham House called Cyber 2017. People, including the President of Interpol and the British Secretary of State for Defence, will be speaking about ‘evolving norms, improving harmonization and building resilience’ in cyberspace.

After that, I’ll be attending the Summer German Intensive at the University of Vienna for a month. In Vienna, I will also be studying classical piano under one of Europe’s most famous pianists, and take classes on the exquisite and precise art of Viennese pastries.

From there I will travel to Berlin and attend lectures and workshops at a variety of universities and museums in the city. I’m slowly gathering more and more knowledge of the rapidly evolving world around me. Until the rest of the year, I am already committed to completing my French fluency at a language school in Brussels, Belgium and advancing my fluency in Italian at another school in Florence. It’s even looking like I’ll be studying Hebrew in Tel Aviv and Arabic in Cairo.

While my life will probably be quite hectic for a long time, I will use every day as an opportunity to learn something new. I have dozens of days already scheduled where I will be attending conferences, research events, workshops, and lectures around Europe and the Middle East, and even shadowing a few different people. I really acknowledge how fortunate I have been and continue to be. I am dedicated to using my opportunities and knowledge for good. I have the best interest of both myself and others at heart and I plan to further the boundaries of human knowledge and endeavor.

In conclusion, Charles Chaplin once said, “I consider myself not only citizen of the world…an internationalist.” I feel the same way, but I would tweak it just a bit. I want to be constantly learning for the rest of my life and acquire all sorts of social and academic knowledge. I am not just a citizen of the world, but rather a student of the world.

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