Malta: Becoming "A Little More Human"
Although the temperature in Malta was only about 10 degrees warmer than Rome, as we stepped off of the airplane and entered the sunlight that the country offered to us as a welcoming present, our group of 20 in unison embraced the Vitamin D and the entirety of the study trip that was to come.
Yes, Malta is a beautiful country. Yes, there were many photo opportunities on the island. Yes, we overate to the point of zero movement. Yes, we had fun on our trip. But, this trip was different than what most of us would experience for the rest of the semester and maybe even for a long time after. How so? Simply put, it wasn’t all about us.
The life of a college student can easily and non-intentionally become self-absorbed. We wake up every morning, go to class, do our schoolwork, maybe fit in an internship or a job, try to remind ourselves to eat 3 ‘healthy’ meals a day, are involved in our school through various different ways, try to figure out how to answer ‘What are your plans post-graduation?’, see our family and friends, and so much more. And we are surprised when getting to the gym just so happens to slip our mind?! Self-absorption is a slippery slope that has become even more present to us millennials through things like social media and even student loans. Which is why, when we were presented with the study trips for the semester, choosing Malta was a no brainer for me. A whole 3-days to learn about a crisis and a culture that has absolutely nothing to do directly with me? Heck yes!
During our short 3-day trip,
we listened to the facts about the refugee crisis specifically in Malta,
we heard a heartbreaking testimony from a refugee about her journey to Malta,
we learned about what the Jesuit Refugee Services are doing to help undocumented migrants that come through Malta,
we experienced the Maltese festivities of the Festival of St. Paul’s Shipwreck,
we appreciated all that Malta has to offer through a hike along the Dingli Cliffs,
we embraced the Maltese values of hospitality that were seen everywhere we went,
and we celebrated Mass with a refugee community.
Truly, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the trip was a life changing one. We were given an opportunity to peer into a life that was completely unlike our own yet were welcomed with open arms to do so. And in the words of the refugee that shared her testimony with us, learning about the lives and experiences of others helped us to become “a little more human”.
-Written by Arianna Georgette Vranas, John Felice Rome Center Spring 2017