I came across Fluent in 3 Months this past week when a friend posted on his Facebook 29 Life Lesson in Traveling the World 8 Years Straight. The blogger, Benny, has been traversing the globe for (you guessed it!) 8 years and learning new languages along the way. His blog is funny, insightful, and he brings in a variety of guest bloggers to spice it up. I thoroughly enjoyed this Life Lessons list and think there is a lot to be appreciated from his experiences. All 29 are pretty good but these were the ones that resonated with me the most:
1. Everyone everywhere basically wants the same thing
5. Seek out people with different beliefs and views of the world to yours and get to know their side of the story
It was actually at Emory University as a college student that I learned the value of this principle. Having grown up in a sheltered suburb of Atlanta with little diversity, I started college incredibly closed-minded. Surrounded and forced to interact with students who were of various faiths, sexual preferences, socio-economic statuses, and ethnicities, I finally was able to realized how really we are so similar and my role is to love, not judge.
15. Modern foreign culture does not have to satisfy your stereotypes
This one and number 5 go so hand-in-hand. I find it is so easy to stereotype other cultures and try to fit a whole county into a nice little box. Not only have I succumb to this abroad, but I’ve also been guilty here in the U.S. Think about the common stereotypes we have in the U.S.: people of certain ethnicities can’t drive; people from a certain country are here illegally; or this certain people group is lazy. If I take the time to get to know people, the likelihood that I will try to fit them into a box severely decreases.
20. Wear sunscreen
Of course I have to agree with this one…my hubby is a dermatologist
23. Making new friends is easy and so is appreciating your current ones
This one reminded me of a recent experience. I was at a wedding a few weeks ago by myself and the woman next to me befriended me. We had little in common – I knew the bride, she knew the groom; we were probably 20 years apart in age; she’s a nurse, I’m a study abroad advisor; the list goes on. But despite our differences, she saw a young woman on her own and decided to pull me in her circle. I cannot express how thankful I was. It made me really think about how I act when I am in the position of comfort. Do I invite outsiders in, especially those of different cultures? I’m not as consistent as I would like…but I do hope to improve.