This is part of a series of blog posts written by the 2014 Peace Scholars as they experience their summer program in Norway. This post was written by Eleni Beyene from Augsburg College.
As the last week is wrapping up at the International Summer School in Oslo, there is a bittersweet feeling amongs the students here about leaving. I, personally, am ready to leave. I say this not because I didn’t have a good experience, but because I am too eager to see the influence of my experience in my usual everyday life. How has this experience changed me? What am I going to take back with me to the United States? It’s too early to tell now, but there is both excitement and a lack of patience on my side to get these questions answered.
The T-bane (underground train) has been our faithful friend for the past five weeks. There are a lot of things you experience when you are in the T-bane. One of my friends and a fellow peace scholar pointed out an interesting advertisement. It says in bright yellow: “GOING HOME WITH A FUTURE.” This is an advertisement by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). In a country like Norway, where the immigrants are not fully accepted, it was hard to see this without thinking of the paradox. Seeing this advertisement made me think about the repetitive questions I have gotten here about whether I’m going to stay in the U.S. or go back to Ethiopia after my studies. It got me thinking about where I belong.
The truth is, I don’t have answers for my questions. I just have more questions about my questions. But I know that I want to go home with a future. I also want to go home with knowledge, resources, and a plan. Wangari Maathai, an inspiration of mine, has talked a lot about the God in her, the voice that told her what to do. And it may sound cliché, but I am waiting for the God in me, too. That voice led me to the United States and to Norway. And I know it will lead me to do more good things in different places around the world.