I’m reading a news story on Myanmar. Most people probably wouldn’t stop to read this story about a small nation they really know nothing about, so why am I reading it? Well, I once had a student from Myanmar and her story was so touching that I always read about what’s happening to see if there is a possibility that she could return home (although at this point I know that is highly unlikely).
I realize that my experiences are what drive me to stay current on the events taking place in other countries. In addition to the student from Myanmar, I have also taught students from China, Taiwan, Japan, Panama, Guatemala, Brazil, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Iraq, Cameroon, the Azores. And many of my colleagues have immigrated from these places as well as Nigeria, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
I have friends and family members who have served in the Peace Corps in Ghana, Benin and Burkina faso, and who have studied in Botswana and South Africa. I have traveled to England, the Netherlands and Greece and have friends from the British Isles, Italy and many other countries around the world. My ancestors emigrated from Japan, Germany and Sweden.
Considering the many countries that make up this diverse world, this is just a small sampling; however, each of these locales brings to mind a picture of someone whose life has touched mine and I can’t resist reading about the things that are happening in the “home” countries of my family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances.
I live a much richer life because of this opportunity to learn so much about other peoples and other cultures and I realize that, without this personal contact, most people are not driven to stay informed about the world around us. As we become more connected through technology, it will become more important to know and understand what drives people from every country and continent and to realize not only our differences, but also our similarities and through this understanding create a more perfect world.