I believe in experiencing other cultures to shape values and perspectives

Kyle - Harrisonburg, Virginia
Entered on September 18, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in experiencing other cultures to develop one’s own personal values and perspectives. Every culture has its own beliefs, values, and traditions. Growing up in many different cultures has helped me realize this. I have lived in three different countries in my eighteen years of existence. While living in these countries, I have been exposed to numerous cultures through living there and traveling. I was born in Germany, then moved to Virginia, and later moved to Saudi Arabia, where I still live part time. While living in Saudi Arabia, I have had opportunities to travel to numerous countries where I have had unique experiences.

Every place on this earth is unique, whether it’s a town five miles away from my hometown or if it’s a thousand miles away. Each place has something different to offer. When I travel to a new place, I try to immerse myself as much as possible into the culture. I try to learn basic words and phrases of the native language, try the food, and meet the people. I have found this to be the best way to really learn about the culture.

From my travels, I have learned so many things about myself. I don’t like to always be viewed as just an American, since I have lived in the US for less than half of my life. I have developed customs and values from many cultures because I have seen what else the world has to offer. I don’t want to just be an American known for eating fast food; I consider myself a global nomad, who likes to try all foods.

One thing I have learned from every culture I’ve encountered is to be an accepting person. By seeing so many different cultures, I have found it easy to accustom myself to new things easier. I believe everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, values, and customs because that is their choice. From all my traveling, I have been to churches, mosques, temples and monasteries. From seeing all different types of religions, I have developed my own religious beliefs not just based on multiple religions. I have learned to play cricket, a sport not well known in America, by playing with Indians, Pakistanis, and Bangladeshis, natives of the sport. I learned that it was unique game and had a different type of team effort from most other sports. Due to my vast travel experiences, I find it easy to talk to almost anyone and feel that I am an easy person to converse with as well.

I am no typical American by most standards, but a global nomad who looks for the adventure to explore to cultures. I value my American heritage but look for new experiences to develop my values and perspectives. I believe that there is something to learn from each cultural experience.