" 'For what do I go to this far land which no one has ever reached? Oh, I am alone! I am utterly alone!'
And Reason, that old man, said to her, 'Silence! What do you hear?'
And she listened intently, and she said, 'I hear a sound of feet, a thousand times ten thousand and thousand of thousands, and they beat this way!'
He said, 'They are the feet of those that shall follow you. Lead on! Make a track to the water's edge! Where you stand now, the ground will be beaten flat by ten thousand times ten thousand feet.' And he said, 'Have you seen the locusts how they cross a stream? First one comes down to the water-edge, and it is swept away, and then another comes and then another, and at last with their bodies piled up a bridge is built and the rest pass over.'
She said, 'And, of those that come first, some are swept away and are heard of no more; their bodies do not even build the bridge?'
'And are swept away, and are heard of no more - and what of that?' he said.
'And what of that - ' she said.
'They make a track to the water's edge.'
'They make a track to the water's edge!' And she said, 'Over that bridge which shall be built with our bodies, who will pass?'
He said, 'The entire human race.'
And the woman grasped her staff.
And I saw her turn down that dark path to the river."*
This passage was written by Olive Schreiner, a woman (and true explorer) who crossed many borders during her lifetime and yet, she discovered the common threads that connected all beings.
As you step into your study abroad experience, look for ways in which you may build a bridge - between your culture and the culture of your host country; a bridge between universities, students and professors; a bridge to future international relationships; a bridge between you and the students who arrived before you and those who will follow you.
For those students who have returned from their study abroad experience, the Building Bridges section provides you with a place to contribute to those who are following in your footsteps. What did you learn during your experience abroad that will be helpful to the current group of students here? What worked well for you? What didn't work? What are you proudest of? What was your most embarrassing moment? What would you have done differently from which others might learn? To former students who have studied in Aix, let's hear your voices of experience so that you may be not swept away but instead offer those who are following in your footsteps solid passage into their own successful experiences beyond their familiar borders.
Send an email to: leslie13100[at]yahoo.fr
Let's build a bridge.
*Howard Thurman, Ed., Track to the Water's Edge. Originally by Olive Schreiner, Dreams. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1900.