I believe that learning about others fosters learning about ourselves. While taking a social work class at Texas Christian University on diversity, I was able to learn about different cultures and, in exchange, learned more about myself. In class we participated in several different activities including presentations, class discussions and small group discussions which were all designed to make us more culturally competent social workers. I was able to recognize what beliefs I hold strong to and others that I began to view differently. The conversations that we had in class about religion and culture helped me to become both a more self aware and a more culturally appreciative. I believe that this is extremely important in the United States today. Our country consists of people of all ethnicities and religions. We as citizens, and especially as people in the helping profession, owe each other the respect to appreciate our differences. This class displayed this capability in all of us when we were asked to tell about our religions and then discuss them in small groups. This experience was remarkable for most of us because religion is one of the topics that are typically on the “do not discuss list” because it often causes anger and uncomfortable feelings. However, this did not happen we all spoke and listened with genuine appreciation because we respect each other as individuals. If our class, which had students of many different ages, religions, and backgrounds, can participate in an open and respectful conversation about a “hot topic,” then this capability must be in other people as well. I think that everyone should have and seek opportunities to have conversations with people who are different form them. This way they, too, can learn and appreciate other cultures and beliefs as well as grow in their own.
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