As I sit down at my desk to write the final column of Chronicles from Copenhagen, I am faced with the sad reality that my time abroad is nearing its end.

Every city I have visited and every new person I have met has reminded me why I came abroad in the first place: to learn about myself by exploring the world and opening myself up to new experiences.

At the same time, while I have had the privilege and opportunity to explore all these various different cultures and encounter new types of people, the world is going through a nationalist and isolationist moment of reckoning.

President Donald Trump, who is just now finishing up a multi-country tour of Asia, is actively advocating for “America First” isolationist policies — building walls between the United States and Mexico instead of bridges. This kind of isolationist rhetoric, especially coming from the purported leader of the free and connected world, is utterly scary.

Everywhere I have gone thus far in my three months abroad has reminded me of the value of constantly putting yourself into unfamiliar and foreign situations and learning about other cultures, which can ultimately help combat this isolationist rhetoric.

In Oslo, Norway, I reconnected with my Viking ancestors while visiting the Viking Ship Museum and gazed at the same thousand-year-old Viking ships that I studied last semester in a history class back at Georgetown.

In Hamburg, Germany, my European Union class and I explored one of Europe’s busiest ports to better grasp the powerful position that Europe occupies within the global trade system.

In Munich, I got a firsthand look at the German parliamentary elections while also getting a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience Oktoberfest.

In Stockholm, I raced through the city on a brisk 24-hour trip and ate genuine Swedish meatballs.

In Brussels, I built on my studies of various EU institutions by interviewing key actors within the system — all the while gorging myself on a plethora of waffles, chocolate and beer.

In Dublin, I stayed at Trinity College — an ancient university founded in 1592 — and hiked the cliffs of Howth.

In Amsterdam, I navigated the bustling canals, saw the work of native son Vincent van Gogh in its proper context and explored the city’s vibrant nightlife.

In Barcelona, Spain, I developed an appreciation for the architecture of Gaudí. and ate tapas so delicious that I almost forgot I was in the middle of the Catalan independence movement.

In Paris, I fell in love with everything about the City of Light — its food, history, culture, people — while also getting the chance to tour Versailles and imagine the events of the French Revolution.

In London, I considered the implications of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU, and visited the Buckingham Palace, all the while getting the opportunity to reconnect with some relatives of mine currently living there.

Yet Trump’s isolationism is spreading throughout Europe. On Nov. 11 in Warsaw, Poland, over 60,000 nationalist protestors disrupted Poland’s independence day festivities in another instance of the rightward lurch of global politics. Protesters carried banners that read, among other things, “White Europe, Europe must be white.”

These events in Poland represent just another example in an already long list of divisive, reactionary nationalist movements that are sweeping Europe, the United States, and the rest of the world, as evidenced by the recent success of far-right parties in German and Austrian parliamentary elections, among others.

These isolationist demonstrations are becoming more and more common. It is becoming easier for people to pull themselves back from the world and close themselves off from the joys of sharing one’s culture and learning about others, as I have done in my time abroad.

I hope that when I return to Georgetown, I will be able to take the lessons I have learned from studying abroad and make a real difference on campus with my new perspective. Students returning from study abroad are often made fun of for exuberantly claiming: “Abroad changed me.”

Although I do not think that I have fundamentally changed as a person, I know that my perspective on the world has shifted for the better. My experiences abroad have broadened my view on life, and I know that I am a more cultured and open-minded as a result.

So in this vein, you could say that abroad has changed me — I just hope that it changed me so that I can help fight the good fight on campus and in the United States against the rampant racism, isolationism and nationalism imperiling our world today.

This is the final installment of Chronicles from Copenhagen

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