By: Esmeralda Perez
Michael Anderson is a 28-year-old English teacher at Senn High School, living in Chicago, IL. He attended DePaul University for his undergraduate and UIC for his graduate. His hobbies consist of traveling and spending time with his dog. Before all of this, he traveled a lot. He traveled to Switzerland and Morocco with his very close friend and his wife, those events changed his life. I interviewed him about these life changing moments.
Esme: Tell me about your views on traveling before you traveled for the first time?
Mr. Anderson: Before I traveled for the first I wasn’t very interested in international travel because I saw the United States as a vast place in itself. So there were a lot of places within the country that I wanted to go to and because I had fun trips to states nearby like, Wisconsin and so on, I kind of just wanted to go the same places over and over again. I never really thought about going to different places just to experience new things.
Esme: Who motivated you to go out the country for your first time?
Mr. Anderson: My best friend moved to Switzerland when I was about 21 or 22 and that was sort of the reason why I knew it was a great reason to leave the country. I would have a place to stay and I would have someone to show me around so I won’t feel so out of place. I wouldn’t be a stranger to everyone.
Esme: Is there anything you wanted to get out of going there?
Mr. Anderson: So when I went to Switzerland, I wanted to see how different places look and how people were, but also wanted to see how people treated each other, sins I’m kind of so used to how people treat each other in this country. When I went to Switzerland, face to face interactions have a difference between them. Particularly I wanted to get into the Political side of things. I’ll give you an example, public transportation; you can get on the train and, there’s no one taking your ticket, you can easily get on the train and take the ride. It’s completely based on trust and a social contract. There is a strong sense of community in that city and that taking care of each other is a responsibility. The social safety net is an important part of their worldview.
Esme: Where in Switzerland did you stay?
Mr. Anderson: Zurich, Switzerland. It’s amazingly beautiful, it’s a city. It’s almost like Millennium Park but the whole city is like that. It’s unbelievably clean, they really care about everything, and everyone is dressed so nice. But the one thing that’s missing about Zurich is that everyone looks the same. It’s not diverse.
Esme: What were some hardships you had to go through while going there or while being there?
Mr. Anderson: When I went to Morocco, I went to visit my wife in a very rural community, completely isolated from other people, in a desert, with no air conditioning. The language barrier was absolutely difficult, even for her, she was just learning Arabic. It’s definitely a different way of life. In terms of dressing, I wasn’t allowed to walk in shorts and my wife had to wear different types of clothing that she wasn’t used to wearing. We were the odd ones out.