Broadening Your Horizons at Home and Away
When I was younger, I rarely left my home in Alabama except for the occasional short trip to surrounding states. The only big trip I remember taking was driving north all the way up to Massachusetts to visit some friends. Since then, I have been fascinated with going to new places and have had the opportunity to travel to places like Nicaragua, Africa, Canada, and many of the western states in the USA! Through the time in those places and even back home I have found that learning about new cultures can be as simple as talking to your neighbor or as adventurous as moving to another country! Learning about another’s culture not only helps you examine what makes them who they are, but what makes you who you are as well. Whether you want to explore the world or stay right in your neighborhood, here are two main ways you can learn about other cultures.
Get Out Into the World
The hardest part about going to a new place is not the money or figuring out where to go, it is the jumping out into the unknown! It can be scary leaving your friends, family and school, but it can also be the most rewarding time of your life where you learn so many new things about that place and yourself. In college there are study abroad options that have scholarships and advisors that want to help you, you just have to go ask about them. You get to take classes and learn how people live. I’ve also traveled through mission trips, a more immersive experience without the structure of classes. Though not for everyone, there are missions’ organizations everywhere that are looking for willing students to give their time to go serve all around the world. Additionally, you can work in other countries! There are plenty of places that have internships and jobs that are just waiting to be filled. Don’t be afraid to fill out some forms and stick your foot out there!
Get Out Into Your Neighborhood
This may not be your time to travel, but people are coming to you from all over. Try to meet new people through your school – international students or a student from another state. Many international students come from around the world for school in America and they are looking for friends here. Look for organizations on your campus where you can buddy with students to help them acclimate to America or show them around. Also, events on campus to celebrate international holidays with food are tons of fun! Can’t find anything like this? Start your own organization. Get out there and talk to someone new!
We find community in others, but how are we supposed to grow and learn if we stay in our little bubble of friends? You may never know that you love Turkish food unless you go ask the girl in your math class – who happens to be from Turkey – out for dinner! You may never truly appreciate home until you travel abroad to a different environment for two weeks. Your favorite hobby, job, friend, or food may be waiting for you to discover through the eyes of the people around you or in a new and foreign place. You can’t truly learn about yourself until you learn about others.
Pearson Students: How do you experience other cultures? Share by commenting below!
Emily Bugg is a junior majoring in Public Relations at Auburn University in Alabama. In addition to serving as the Pearson Campus Ambassador for Auburn, Emily is also the captain for the Women’s Club Ultimate Frisbee team and serves on leadership at her church.
Emily is a Pearson Student Insider. To learn more about the program and apply, click here.