|Foto by S. van Drake, Nerja Rastrillio, Malaga Province, Spain (flea market) December 2010.|
I believe every uni/college student should take a gap year.
Mine came from my agnosticism about becoming a lawyer. I was programmed from 8th grade: competitive debate and speech throughout highschool (quite successful) and in college, the impetus to pursue political science at Macalester College after hearing the resonating voice of Dr. G. Theodore Mitau (deceased) bellowing from third floor Old Main at the 1600 Grand Ave., St. Paul, Minnesota campus of this internationally known small liberal arts college (name dropping: Kofi Annan graduated circa 1960).
Mac is the first college or university in the nation to proudly hang the UN flag along side the Stars and Stripes.
Dr. Mitau and his curricula pushed me into William Mitchell College of Law, a four-year night law school at that time (1965) with 150 in our frosh class with an estimated fail or dropout rate of 50%.At least 80% of us were married, worked full-time during the day and had no life except work and school.
Thanks to my failure to grasp why I was in law school, I dropped out after taking second year exams, sold all my belongings including my treasured 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne, a fine six-cyclinder straight stick, and bought a one-way ticket on Icelandic Air to Copenhagen.
I'm not going to provide you a great auto-biography of my adventure, which did lead me to Madrid, but I just want take this moment to emphasize the importance of UK, European and North American students frequently taking a gap year or at least a summer to experience other cultures, countries, travel, gain independence and a sense that we are all really one people and to help end our isolationism and moderate nationalism.
Their return to college or unversity infuses them with a greater understanding of world humanity, especially at a time when the greed of banks and other similar institutions has led governments to cut education budgets with a machette in the UK and elsewhere.
The first casualities are arts and humanities.
Let's face it. The world's gone insane.
Sometimes our only refuge is in art, music, all the arts, to give us a modicum of hope and resiliance and sense of our common values but diverse cultural roots.
Next post I will revisit my two summers in the former Yugoslavia (1963 and 1965), especially Croatia where I lived with Ivan Generalic in Hlebine studying naive or primative art. Generalic (deceased) and his son are masters with many of their works hanging in museums in Zagreb and around the world.
Rock on and practice peace.Check out ArtTraveler's videos at: http://bit.ly/h1vruw
Stefan, the ArtTraveler(TM)