What are the best ways to learn about history?April 12, 2016

Your coursemates were impressed at what you just said. Your parents have reservations about you in a foreign land, but you assured them that your mates would travel with you. Besides, you had an enlightened moment at the Shrine of Remembrance. This landmark would pay homage to the young soldiers who perished during the Great War. You recalled your parents telling you how it changed their lives. It didn't ring a bell until you find yourself in a place where most people hardly speak English. This would be your first lesson in history.

You were not the kind of student who would be satisfied with books. You believed there was more to learning than what your professor would tell you. And it couldn't be more apparent than history. You knew Europe would be the best example, as there were too many landmarks to visit and take pictures. But the continent was halfway around the world. (Eventually, you would get there.) A holiday not far from Oz wasn't a bad idea. As a matter of fact, it turned out to be the kind of trip you were hoping for.

These were the ways to learn about history:

Get a sense of a place. Vietnam could mean different things for different people. Graham Greene saw no hope, which was revealed in "The Quiet American". Marguerite Duras witnessed the loss of innocence, which she penned in more than one book. Both authors came to this part of Indochina at different time periods. And you were unable to scribble a word in your journal. You were humbled by the smiling faces, which made you feel welcomed. And the sight of limestone mountains and tranquil river would bring out the Bard in you. But it would happen later. It was getting humid, which you don't mind at all. It reminded you of home. This could be a nice opening to your paper.

Imagine thousands of years in a single hour. Your mates complained about the heat in Siem Reap, such that they considered taking off their shirt. But you were absorbed in your own thoughts. You imagined Angkor Wat back then. And people with strange clothing set foot in this mighty kingdom. You were saddened by the sight of beggars. What happened? Civilisations would come and go. And the temple lost its luster. It became a testament to a mighty civilisation. They may be better without the technology that you became accustomed to. When you saw a river not far from the ruins, you thought how this body of water laid the foundation of the Khmer Empire. There would be hope.

Be a visual learner. This natural formation reminded you of what was special about Oz. There was much to be learned about the arid interior, which would reveal the secrets. It might be a verdant landscape millions of years ago. There were older communities predating the aborigines. You have been there many times, braving the elements. You were looking for an answer during dusk, but the change of colours would overwhelm you.

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