Mendota Heights '13
Yet another reason we are here--and perhaps the one that can encompass all the others--is to share. Over here in York we are novelties, just as everything we encounter is in some way a novelty for us. And because of that it's important and hugely beneficial to share who we are and what we've learned with the people we meet, and hopefully they will share something of themselves in return.
A few of us students have become particular friends with one of the vendors at the open air market in the center of the walled part of the city. Originally from Pakistan, this man and his wife sell clothing as regulars at the market, but they also travel around the United Kingdom to different fairs. Over the past week we have run into them several times, and he is always ready for a friendly chat. I personally have had exchanges with him regarding American history (specifically the Civil War), weather differences (or similarities--it's unbelievably windy here), and his own past as a vendor. He is the kind of man who is genuinely curious about unfamiliar topics and just interested in what one has to say--a friendly man looking to make connections.
In less regularly occurring cases, we have still been able to share bits of ourselves with the people we meet. Shopkeepers, waiters, and passersby stop to ask where we're from, what we're doing here, what we're learning, and the like. Being able to tell the locals we've come to their city to study literature from the time when York was the academic center of England; telling people on the train where we're from and where we're going to next; meeting other American tourists and making home connections away from home; sharing stories with one another as students to gain perspective in that manner--all of these opportunities are invaluable ones that we could not get just from reading our textbooks.