Liza Bunce is a senior studying zoology.
Have you traveled in your life?
Yes, I’ve traveled with family on the east coast. I lived for a short while in London, and recently I did Semester at Sea.
Did you find anything difficult before or after traveling abroad? What was it?
Coming back was a culture shock for me! It was difficult coming back and not having everyone understand the things you have experienced. It is also very busy here compared to other places.
What has been the best part of your international experience?
The people I met, especially a monk who is now a friend of mine. We write each other letters.
How has your life changed after traveling?
I have a lot more friends from around the world.
What is something you always wanted people to know about yourself or the country you are from?
The U.S. is a melting pot, and everyone is welcome here. Also if I do something wrong in regards to culture, let me know. There are a lot of unconscious biases. Like when we were in Ghana, we did not know that it was very rude to cross your legs when sitting with an elder, so I had to keep nudging my friends to remind them and myself.
What was the hardest part about traveling?
It can get frustrating with new languages which I don’t know. I was lost for 8 hours in Japan alone, and I did not have much money. I just kept walking and kept getting more and more lost. I ended up in Kyoto University and found their study abroad office where some people spoke English. I also was communicating with people using Pictionary trying to exchange money and get back to where I was going.
What would you tell people planning to study abroad?
It’s going to be the best part of your life but very difficult. You’re going to experience so many different people, and you’re going to want to talk about it a lot when you come back and that’s ok!
What’s something you wish to tell your parents right now?
Thank you for always pushing me to think outside the box. They never conformed me to do one thing, which is good.
What are you most proud of today?
I’m proud of the people I have met and have seen grow. Things are scary when thinking about them at the moment, but it’s worth risking your comfort zone. It’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone because the coolest part will be meeting people, and you will make friends for life. I also discovered that North Carolina and Morocco have the same latitude as each other.
- Global Storytellers