I remember reading The Rugged Altruist by New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks earlier this year and wanted to share. My love of the times and its op-eds is steady and true. Ever since middle school when I prematurely became interested in politics and humanitarian issues, I have been reading the Times and its opinion pieces before I pick up my Vogue and Vanity Fair issues (which I love equally to the Times).
This article really caught my attention, as I consider myself an altruist—as I'm sure many of you do—but not particularly rugged. I also didn't really know what classified an altruist to be in the "rugged" category or the more civilized one.
Brooks does a great job laying out the characteristics that are needed to really make a difference while abroad, and points out that the black-and-white ideas and paradigms that you arrive with in a developing country—or in any new one for that matter—are often replaced or flipped on their heads after spending time outside of your normal day-to-day routines and environment.
For those who have been abroad, what did you notice changed the most when you returned home? Were there any incredible revelations that you experienced, or were the changes more internal and nuanced? Let us know! And if you have the urge to go abroad again—or you are ready to make your first leap—check out our Working Abroad programs.