Exchange student discusses love of travel

Photo by: Aaron Gotter

Daniel Purves, an international relations and journalism major from the United Kingdom, is spending the semester at FMU.

Lindsay Buchanan, Senior Writer

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Every semester brings new faces to Francis Marion University, and this one is no different. One of the new faces seen around campus this spring is that of Daniel Purves, an international relations and journalism major from the United Kingdom.

With popular sports programs and small class sizes, FMU is able to draw students from all over the world. However, sports and class sizes are not what appeal most to Purves, who has traveled and even lived all over the world doing humanitarian work. Purves’s interests revolve more around learning about people and their cultures.

Having only been in the United States for a little over two weeks, Purves has already been seen popping up at a multitude of events and making handfuls of friends. In the short time he has been at FMU, Purves has already attended more organization meetings and events than many students do throughout their entire college career.

All of this running around and getting involved is the result of an endless curiosity that Purves has cultivated throughout his life. His age is a mystery, although he says, “somewhere in my twenties,” yet Purves has already lived in such varied countries as Mozambique, Africa; Beirut; Bethlehem; Egypt; Jordan; and the United Arab Emirates, to name a few. He has traveled throughout Europe, and he is now planning his cross-country trip of America for when the semester ends. He has plans to stay with friends he has made throughout his previous travels.

When asked about his love of traveling and why it has become such a priority in his life at such a young age, Purves quoted St. Augustine.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page,” Purves said.

Purves has already noticed many differences between the culture in America and that of his home country. For instance, in most areas of the United Kingdom people walk to get where they are going as opposed to driving. Purves said that he was appalled the first time he saw students driving from one parking lot to another to get across campus instead of walking to the next building.

One of the most prominent things Purves said that he has noticed about southern American culture in particular is how closely it aligns with that of the culture in the Middle East.

“There are lots of similarities between Southern culture and the Arab world,” Purves said. “The sense of hospitality is very strong, the rankings in society, a tendency towards a very strong sweet tooth. Their tea is almost as sweet as yours. Each have very conservative views and religion is prominent in the culture, as well as drinking behind closed doors.”

Another difference Purves has noted between America and the United Kingdom is the way classes are conducted. According to Purves, students in his university back home participate much more actively in lecture and even add to the content being discussed. Most students are on a first name basis with their professors, who act more as facilitators on different topics than as a lecturer.

Purves said it has been very interesting to come to a smaller university and learn about the people here, although he has been surprised to learn that most of the students have never traveled outside of the United States. Purves said that most students at his university back home have at least taken a gap year between semesters and traveled to well-known locations around the world.

Purves, who is interested in pursuing humanitarian work and foreign correspondence when he graduates, said that he prefers to stay away from the well-known cities when he travels in order to immerse himself in the true culture of a region.

“The beaten track is usually commercialized,” Purves said. “If I’m traveling I want to get to know the people, the culture. That’s why I’m here. I want to know who you guys are.”

Still, Purves is not only here to observe, but also to create relationships. Already, he has been taken out and shown a good time by students on campus, and with the rate he is going, many more are sure to have the pleasure of meeting him before the end of the semester.

“Everyone I’ve met has been very nice,” Purves said.

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