One thing I have learned is that the older you get, you tend to look for different things to inspire you and motivate you. You can call this part of adulting but at this stage of my life, I am always in search of things that are relatable or fall in line with where I am at currently. While reading self-help books, or biographies is the obvious go-to answer, podcasts are a good alternative. Also being the fact that podcasting is the new wave, I was very curious to check it out and give it a shot. I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to an audiobook yet but I am guessing it is the same experience. Continue reading “Podcasts📻🎙”
It really is very interesting how America does impact the rest of the world. I mean I have always been aware of the influence that America has, especially being a super power country but never imagined it to this extent.
I cannot even count the number of times I have been asked my opinion about the current ongoing elections. Who I want to be president, how I feel about Trump or Hillary and last but not least if Obama has done a great job while in office. First of all, I do think Obama will remain as one of the coolest president ever. Not only did he make history as the first black president but he did bring our troops back home and came up with a health care plan that’s really been affordable (Obama health care) and among many other things. I don’t want to go on a tangent because I can go on and on but let’s just agree to disagree in case you feel otherwise. But all in all, know your politics before travelling abroad because believe me, you will be tested through the many conversations you will bound to have.🗣👥👤
Let me start off by how automatically the stereotypical perception that everybody has about America or Americans. Immediately it is assumed that you have been to every state. One question you’re bound to be asked is if you’ve met any celebrity. As Americans, we are very patriotic and take pride in everything that we do or own. Well, the rest of the world is very aware of that too. In my experience, everywhere I have gone including liquor stores or even restaurants, I am always automatically offered the American beer or wine brands and if it’s a fast food restaurant, I am guaranteed that the burger will taste just like in America. The only thing I can attest that is not a stereotype but a fact is that Americans can be very loud. We stand out in everything that we do from how we dress to how we interact.
Also the fact that everything is usually compared to America. In most of my classes, everything that we learn is usually compared to America especially when they are referring to the western world. One thing which I simply can’t wrap my head around, is how the dollar has such a gigantic influence even when other currencies like the pound or euro have a higher value.
Everyone including other international students who are also here for study abroad that I have met, the conversation ends up being all about America. From politics to celebrities. To my surprise, some people tend to know more stuff that I even feel ashamed not knowing about. For example, when I say that I from the states, I am always asked what part or what city. In return I always feel bad and rude because aside from asking where there are from, I cannot proceed with the conversation. This is due to the single fact that I don’t know their politics or even geographically where a specific area would be if I was to ask.
I am taking a class called ‘HIV and Aids from a South African Perspective’ and it has been very eyeopnening. it’s just sad how we as Americans or other developed nations sometimes tend to forget the privilege that we have being in a developed country. We are not aware of how accessible and the influence we had on the anti-retroviral drugs when they first came out compared to the rest of the world especially the developing countries. Mind you this is just an example of one of the many things that we are either closed minded on or just haven’t bothered to find out on our own.
I guess what I am really trying to say is that we have to be all rounded as Americans. Unfortunately while our education system does not necessarily teach us about other countries compared to the rest of the world, we have to take the initiative to learn a little bit of everything especially if you want to travel around the world like I do. Before you travel make sure you take some time to learn about the environment of your destination. Because this will come in handy when you end up having conversations with locals and trust me, you do not want it to be a one sided dialogue.
It’s really fascinating getting to try all these new foods and adventures while being immersed in a culture where I get to learn and experience new things every day.
But being realistic, the grass is not really greener on the other side. As you all know, there is a lot of controversy and issues especially regarding race and the justice system in America.
Apartheid which was the official policy of racial segregation in South Africa(similar to the US in the 1900’s) , actually began here in the town of Stellenbosch where the policies were negotiated.
Believe it or not, it’s only been a little over 20 years, and South Africans are still struggling with racial disparities.
Here in South Africa they have 3 main ethnic groups not including Asians and others. Whites, Colored and Blacks. Colored ( intermarriage between the Dutch and black South Africans which gave birth to the AFRIKAANS language) who we’d consider biracial, is actually an ethnic group of its own with their own cultural ways. From the few conversations I have had with some of the locals, one is treated differently based on the color of their skin.
This did hit home for me because it is basically the same issues were facing back in the states. The only difference is that here in South Africa there is completely open dialogue compared to America. 🇿🇦🌍🇺🇸🌎
Currently living as a full time student at Stellenbosch university, it’s very interesting to see the perspective of a South African struggling with such prominent issues.