The excerpts below are from an account written by a Bentley student reservist, after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. The author prefers to remain anonymous.
Coming back home, I knew I had to change my direction in life, and I decided to start by enrolling in our Global Studies program. I want to put myself in a position where I can try to bring a little stability to the world. . . .
On top of the experience of the war itself, working overseas provided me with the critical cross-cultural experience that makes studying abroad so valuable. . . . The people in my unit were Afghan, British, French, Canadian, German, Australian, Dutch, Romanian, Slovakian and Singaporean. . . . We joked about stereotypes and took the time to learn the truth. We found values that we shared, and places where our priorities were different. It was the first time I realized how much my worldview is affected by my nationality. This was a painful admission for someone who has always prided themselves on being open minded and objective. . . I also realized that I will never be able to completely shed my American perspective – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Having a strong belief system is just as important as recognizing that everyone has a different belief system. . . .
I saw the very worst and the very best of people in Afghanistan. While I don’t feel qualified to make any sort of judgment about human nature, I can say that things were rarely done with sinister intentions, and that gives me hope for the future. It has been a hard transition moving from Afghanistan to Bentley; the pace and stakes are just completely different. However, my global studies classes have felt like a continuation of what I was learning over there, so I can tell myself that I’m still fighting.