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Soon after returning home from studying abroad, I am jet-setting again through Arcadia’s Preview program.
My Preview class is headed Ethiopia. The first part of Preview is learning about the country before we step foot these, which is always an important step when traveling to a new place. It helps to do this in a classroom setting, where I’m learning with a group about Ethiopia, a country not many people in the United States know much about.
Since the beginning of the semester, we’ve learned through interactive exercises. One of the things we focused on was the continuous change of power and social constructs in Ethiopia. Over its vast history, Ethiopia has gone through various transitions of power and overthrown governments. Much of its history reflects government controlling the people, but recently, with federalization and a new leader, the country is finally starting to see more progressive actions. What makes Ethiopia’s political structure so interesting is the various ethnic groups that make up its system and need to be represented in power.
We learned not just the history of Ethiopia, but also who its people are and what makes Ethiopia such an important country in the history of Africa. We learned geography, anthropology, and about how Ethiopia might be the starting point of all civilization. Transfers of power over centuries contributed to ethnic diversity and a combination of worldly influences, which make up Ethiopia today. The country was able to withstand tremendous change over this time period, form its own government, build up its civilization, and remain a strong nation with defenses against colonization, something many other nations of Africa were unfortunately not able to resist.
I chose this course for a reason: I knew that it was a history and culture that I was blind to, and I wanted to understand more about pressing issues elsewhere in the world. Now that I know Ethiopia’s rich history, it’s hard to realize that I had barely known anything about the country before Preview. The program has given me an amazing chance to broaden my perspective on the world.