John - Bangor, Maine
Entered on October 20, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: race, tolerance
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I believe the more cultures a person experiences growing up the more diverse that person will become. I believe that those who grow up in a relatively isolated area and then try to understand and learn about culture can only attain a fundamental understanding about that culture.

I grew up mostly in a city in New Jersey where cultural diversity is present. Most of my neighbors were immigrants of various countries, Cuba, Italy, Russia, Portugal and Jamaica to name a few. My circle of friends consisted of children from all of those countries. We played together, had sleep overs together and went to school together. By the time I started fifth grade, I was familiar with many diverse cultures and their customs and could speak in their languages. We knew each other well enough to respect each other’s parents, each other’s religion, and the holidays that we celebrated.

Since healthcare workers, especially nurses, routinely come across patients from different cultural backgrounds, experiencing this cultural diversity gives me the advantage to better recognize diverse patients. It has also given me a different perspective of life.

Having moved to Maine a couple of years ago, I slowly began to see the lack of cultural diversity. I believe that the people in Maine are starting to see the importance of cultural diversity and are incorporating it into their educational system as well as their professional lives. I believe that being open minded about other cultures can break the ambiguity surrounding those cultures and will help healthcare workers understand diverse people in a more positive and productive way.