From the bustling, crowded streets of France, to the sunny, temperate climate of Ethiopia, Mrs. Pardue has done it all. She traveled around the world for years as a college student, visiting places with a variety of cultures. She learned many things along the way that she would like to share.
Mrs. Pardue’s journey began in France, where she was an undergraduate student looking for something new. Before college, she had never gotten to travel out of the US, so she was excited when she was provided with the chance to travel. For her art history credits, she received a scholarship and decided to take the opportunity to study abroad. When asked about how she felt during her first trip, Mrs. Pardue responded with a smile and said, “I remember sitting on the plane thinking, ‘Wow! This is so cool!’” She then applied for student teaching and was accepted. She began learning the British curriculum which “opened the door to work in other international schools.”
Mrs. Pardue’s next destination was in Ethiopia, the land of 13 months of sunshine. At 23 years of age, her new surroundings were completely foreign to her. An exciting opportunity to learn and grow was ahead of her. She arrived in the country as a missionary, wanting to help people, but she realized that she was “the one who had a lot to learn [herself].” She saw beautiful simplicity and kindness between the people that she learned from as she lived in Ethiopia for several years. It was an “eye-opening experience” for her as a young college student. She expressed that “we have a lot to learn, even if we think we’re the teachers, and we always need to learn from other cultures and the students themselves.”
Although she has countless interesting stories to choose from, she chose to tell one of her life in Yemen. During her stay there, she went to a local store with her friends to get fruit drinks, and was on her way back when the US Embassy came to them. They made sure that Mrs. Pardue and her friends were okay because the Embassy had been bombed earlier that day. A few days before, Mrs. Pardue and her friends had visited someone’s house, where they had a delicious meal and dessert. The dessert consisted of sweet bread and honey. When Mrs. Pardue asked the host what kind of honey it was, they responded by saying, “Oh, it’s Bin Laden’s honey.” After sharing this anecdote, Mrs. Pardue said that “you never know what’s gonna happen when you go abroad. But I’m definitely not telling my mom that story.”
As she traveled to more and more places around the world, she learned a lot about different cultures and people. “Something I’ve realized was that the more you travel, the more you start to see that people are alike.” Even though every culture and place is unique, Mrs. Pardue recognized that people around the world are not so different. After returning to the states after her travels, she saw how lucky the people in the US were. She said that “after walking to Wal-mart, and going down the cereal aisle, I could hardly believe it. Just realizing how much we had, how much we have in excess, and how much we don’t need.” She began to have a hard time when people complained about little things or superficial things that bothered them. There was so much that people took for granted, and Mrs. Pardue saw this after living for years in Africa. She gained a great appreciation and thankfulness for what she had. “We’re so fortunate, and we should use our blessings to be blessings for other people.”
Mrs. Pardue plans to continue travelling in the future, but she wants to wait until her kids are a little older. She wants them to see what the world is like and show them the value of travelling. Currently, the next destination on her list is Machu Picchu, an Incan city in Peru that was built in the 15th century. She encourages others to travel as much as they can. She said that “anyone in their youth who gets a chance to travel and get out of their comfort zone, they should.”