This I Believe

Andres - Waukegan, Illinois Columbia
Entered on May 2, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
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“I believe that everyone shares something in common.”

Culture. I believe that this simple word includes so much of our own identity. When we are among those of our own culture, everything makes sense, and understanding some jokes comes naturally. It is easy to put to ease worries when sharing an intense or scary experience with those of our culture. When tossed into a different culture for the first time, it can be both challenging and exciting as everything that we expect is different. When we find out that another culture lives with a totally different point of view, it can be interesting but also difficult.

It takes hard work and dedication to become competent in a different culture. Becoming culturally aware is not easy and can be even more difficult than taking a college class and getting an A. Developing cultural competence in my life has consisted of knowing different customary beliefs, improving social awareness through being part of diverse communities that provide me with knowledge.

For me, learning is not complete unless approached from a huge and all-encompassing viewpoint, familiar with not just one theory or understanding of one world, but multiple ones. I want to participate in the variety of culture and literature from all parts of the world and incorporate them firmly into my own life. I am from Colombia, and last Christmas I visited my family there. I appreciated my time there and get homesick for Colombia day by day.

I believe having my family in a completely different part of the world has allowed me to grow up strong and much more interested in cultural differences. I have never felt in danger or intimidated by someone else’s way of life or beliefs; instead I have always found it interesting to find out more about other parts of the world. In the winter 2006 I moved from Colombia to U.S, which proved to be an invaluable experience. During my time in the airplane from Colombia to Miami, I noticed that I was comfortable talking to the people who were close to me because they were from my own culture. From Miami to Chicago, I observed that I wasn’t comfortable talking to the people who were close to me because I felt it was an unusual culture.

Focusing on the English language has become a top priority for me in preparation for communicating with American people. Since coming to the U.S, I have met many people from other countries who share these interests. We knew the best way to learn would be to work together and in turn help other students who were interested in learning English.

Aside from pursuing my knowledge about the American community, I have always had a desire to learn about different languages and cultures that have become part of U.S. Each generation of adolescents, for example, brings together a new style of life, attitudes and behaviors that then establish a separate “culture” that is directly linked to their age. Unfortunately, racism itself can create new sub-cultures which recognize and discriminate against people only by their beliefs, race, or nationality, whether black or white, Christian or Muslim; Racism is a negative force which separates people, rather than uniting them; it creates a new outlook on life.

I believe it is incredibly important to understand the views of people to others. I believe that before judging someone by their outward appearance, we should get to know them as an individual and not by what they represent.

I believe that no matter how much knowledge is acquired, the ability to communicate effectively with others is important. Being that I am from a different culture makes me work harder to accomplish my goals in America. However, I believe that everyone shares something in common; humanity. I believe that the U.S is a diversity of culture. Yet, I believe that in the future the U.S won’t have a variety of cultures; I believe that everybody in the U.S will be a unique culture. The American culture.