Global Journeys: Martinique

One of the most impactful experiences I have had during my time at Agnes Scott was when I was able to go on my Summit Global Studies trip in my first year. I was a part of the Martinique trip, and our primary academic focus was on socio-cultural studies. We spent a lot of time discussing the social situation in Martinique, particularly between the white, black, and mixed-race population, as the island’s status as both a Caribbean island and a French protectorate had created a unique blend of conceptions of racial identity and race relations. We traveled throughout the island learning about the culture of the island and the people who lived there, taking a traditional dance class, exploring the first capitol city that was destroyed by a volcano, helping out elementary schools with English practice and work around the school, taking a drawing class with a local artist, touring a former sugar cane plantation, and visiting a farm where descendants of the first freed slaves on the island had come to live. I had always been excited about the prospect of traveling with my Global class, but I’d had no idea what kind of impact the trip could have on me. I learned an incredible amount about not only Martinique, but global cultures as a whole. It taught me how to identify, explain, and analyze global themes, processes, and systems. Through examining the race relations of the island, I was able to critically examine the relationship between dominant and marginalized cultures, subcultures, and groups. This trip also helped me cultivate skills that are essential for global engagement. This trip was my first true interaction with a different culture, and the skills I was able to learn– skills related to traveling in foreign countries, communicating across language barriers, engaging with complex foreign issues from an objective perspective, experiencing other cultures in full, and traveling mindfully– were essential to my confidence in and ability to study abroad. The fact that this trip encouraged me to go abroad is proof enough of how much of an impact it had, though that’s not even the only way it did impact me. As I mentioned, I did have the chance to study abroad in my junior year, and doing so led me to the school I want to go to for my master’s degree, a city I fell in love with, and a deepened passion for traveling and learning. I plan to continue to travel and study other cultures and societies as I do so, and that wouldn’t have been possible without my global trip.