I smiled when I saw this quote from Silvia Tolisano on the Great Quotes about Learning and change. I was fortunate at an early age to have been shown a world bigger than mine when my parents made the brave and scary decision to move from our hometown in England to seek what turned out to be a once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue my dad’s engineering career in the US. Although it took me some time as a bratty 8-year-old to adjust to being transplanted (that is putting it mildly), today I’m grateful every day for the opportunities that have come my way as a result of being here. I was naturalized in 2003 as I finished college, and am proud to call myself an American Citizen.
I have always taken the firm stance that when you go abroad, with the intention of learning about another culture, you also come back with something that you didn’t plan for, a deeper knowledge of who you are and what makes you tick. It’s almost impossible to be surrounded by so many contrasts without stopping to think about what exactly it is that sets off the reaction that you are having: “eww you want me to eat what?” takes on a different tone when you see the perspective from which the world views the “typical” American diet. I traveled abroad many times with my family to familiar territory, but immersing myself in the culture of Germany and Argentina during four different study abroad experiences from High School to College changed something in me in a good way. It made me more open to different points of view — more able to see the other side of a debate and more perceptive of the impact that small events can have on a global scale.
Today I am proud to have family in England and Australia, friends and colleagues all over the world, and most importantly an open-mindedness that I can’t imagine having formed any other way.
I recommend a good look at Silvia’s post from May 4th, 2010 called Global Awareness Going on. She does a great job bringing some alarming statistics to light. Always a good read at Langwitches! Although I always feel somehow shamed at the sheer quantity and quality of the work that she produces. Maybe one day! (Ok – unsolicited glowing endorsement over.)
Update: I’m testing out the use of the X-Post wordpress plugin to share specific posts on this site with my blog under my Around the World with 80 Schools website. It is a no-brainer. Comments are supposed to cross post from one to the other. We will see.