I believe in experiencing other cultures

Kristen - Arlington, Virginia
Entered on September 22, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: change, place
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

The first time I ever flew on an airplane I was in the sixth grade and I flew to Florida for my Aunt’s wedding. I came back on a Monday. The next day was September 11, 2001. To think that I was on a plane at one of the very same airports the day before such a tragic event scared me and I told myself I’d never fly again. The only problem with was that I was secretly obsessed with flying and traveling to other places, especially far away ones and from what I remember of my first plane ride I loved it.

I got the opportunity the summer before my freshmen year of high school to go to the Bahamas with my mom and my best friend, so I decided to get over my fear of planes and go. It was an awesome experience! I met so many people vacationing from different parts of the world and talked to them about some of the things they did in their home country for fun. It was so interesting comparing and contrasting my culture to others and seeing all the cool differences between them.

I got another opportunity to travel out of the country my junior year of high school and went to Italy with my German class for Spring Break. It was probably the best and most memorable time of my life. In Venice, I met people from Germany, Prague, Russia, London, France, Spain, and of course Italy. It was such an amazing experience learning about all these new and interesting cultures and just gaining a new perspective of the world in general.

My most recent trip I took was this summer. I went to Australia with my youth group for World Youth Day. I was there for about a month and there were almost 5 million other teenagers there for the event from all over the world, so I got to meet people from countries I’ve never even heard of- it was amazing. I did everything there from camping outside, to scuba diving and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, to traveling through a rainforest, to playing with baby koalas and big kangaroos. It was probably also my longest plane ride, it lasted about 32 hours each way including switching planes and being delayed at several airports, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

I believe that since not everyone is blessed enough to be able to do some of the things I’ve done, I should take full advantage of every opportunity I get. I believe in experiencing other people’s culture because it can open up a whole new perspective and world that you never even knew was there.