Cross-cultural Learning Essay

705 Words 3 Pages
I was lucky enough to be raised in a family that strongly felt its Irish and Celtic heritage should be celebrated. From them, I learned the beauty of my own culture, and an appreciation to learn the cultures of others. I brought that appreciation with me through life, and found it to make all the difference.

 

My earliest cross-cultural experience that I can remember with clarity was the Spanish exchange student who was hosted by one of my aunts. Mai not only taught me about her culture, which in turn piqued an interest in the Spanish/Latino culture that continues to this day, but she also helped me to appreciate many small, seemingly insignificant aspects of my own culture.

 

I built upon my cross-cultural
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With these experiences with foreigners in my own territory under my belt, I was then lucky enough to have the experience reversed. I went on an ecological/tourist trip to Costa Rica, and my time there opened a wealth of new understanding on culture. Immersed in a language and a location completely foreign from my own, I began to see that those were not the only, nor even the most important, aspects of culture. There was a general ambience and mood that was completely different that what I was used to- the "tico ambiente" as the Costa Ricans would say. Everything that I learned there greatly interested me, from their views on the environment to machismo. In fact, this experience was the foundation for my choice of majors and for my continued interested in the field of sustainable development in Costa Rica.

 

One of my final and most extensive cross-cultural experiences was this past summer. I was fortunate enough to study abroad for a month in Guatemala, and to live with a family during my stay. The pleasure and knowledge that I gained from this trip is immeasurable. Not only did it further cement my commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection- what person couldn't feel obligated to protect the beauty I saw- but it also gave me a deeper understanding of what it is like to truly be involved in a foreign culture. It was amazing to be able to converse with people whose lives were

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