America is a very diverse country consisting of many immigrants from all over. Yet we still have a lot of ethnocentric values in our country. We think we are above everyone else and even though America is a cultured country, ignorance towards other cultures is highly expressed. Being of Persian decent, I was raised in America but many experiences and teachings while I was young has shaped me into becoming a very cultured person and accepting of cultural differences.
At a very young age, I began to travel all over with my parents. I was born in Virginia, but moved to California by car when I was 6 years old. Driving across the country I began to see the cultural differences that their just are in the United States. Small town coziness to big city commotion, America can be considered a world of its own.
A few years after settling in California, we began traveling internationally for pleasure. First was France, then England, then Germany, then Belgium. Somewhere in between visiting all those countries I’ve also ventured to the third world slums in multiple countries of the middle east, the isolated, criminal infested beach’s of Mexico, the beautiful landscape scenery of Canada, the half French, half English speaking island of San Marteen (which has been destroyed by a hurricane now), and the tropical paradise of Hawaii.
Some of these trips where for surfing, some of them were for just tourism, but one thing that was common was that I never really like staying at tourist spots. I enjoy venturing off paved roads, into forbidden and dangerous areas, and really into the country. Not just places that are made for tourism but places that most tourists don’t mainly go to.
I believe that these experiences have really shaped me to become who I am, and have shown me how to appreciated other cultures. It has become more than just a form of education but a hobby. An obsessive hobby in which I feel I need to venture out of the closed minded, ethnocentric America. These past experiences and values that have been passed on down to me have allowed me to keep my mind open.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.