I believe in making the effort to connect with other people. Not only does this allow you to expand your social horizons, but also can expose you to different cultures.
Everyday we see the same people at work or classes, but still do not bother to talk to them. Without talking to them, you may never know much about that person aside from their name. These people may have been places you never have, and experienced things that may be totally new to you. Without talking to them you will never know.
When I went to the Marine Military Academy, I was exposed to many different cultures. There was cadets from China, Germany, England, Mexico, Korea and Japan. Typically, these students tended to group together since they were the minorities in our school. In my first year at MMA, I was reluctant to talk with some of these cadets partially because I had never been around anyone from a country like China.
In the beginning of the year, my first roommate was discharged from military school due to him sneaking out to buy beer and cigarettes. Luckily, I was not involved with this incident so I was able to stay at school. Shortly after my roommate left, I was assigned a new roommate named Ang Li. Needless to say I was a little shocked since typically the Drill Instructors would put the foreign cadets in rooms together. After Li was situated in the room I asked him some basic questions about him such as name, age and where he was from exactly. He turned out to have just moved over to the United States from Hong Kong. At this point in time Li knew little to no English, so he asked me to help him practice English by talking to him in our free time in the barracks.
Over the months, I became more and more used to the other cultures attending school with me and also learned a lot about my roommate and the Chinese way of life. In this period of time I also met more of Li’s friends from China which allowed me to gain even a deeper insight to their culture. On some nights, Li’s Chinese friends would come over to the room to study or just talk. They would often bring over food that came from china such as moon cakes, noodles and some of the best tea I have ever tasted. They would explain to me what this food was because in many cases I did not know. This, along with everyday conversations allowed me to see a little bit of Chinese culture and also get Li’s perspective on the United States. In exchange for me taking the time to help Li with his English I gained a few special privileges from the Drill Instructor and also a new friend.
Since high school, I have continued to meet new people in order to get a better idea of different cultures way of life. I believe that by meeting new people, you will be able to get a better idea of what goes on in the world around you.
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