Indeed he who travels see much, and learns much.
One of my objectives to join the Atlas Corps Fellowship was to learn about new cultures and lifestyles; an objective set so enthusiastically but without much understanding of what is involved. From living and interacting with fellows from different countries to working with professionals from different countries, In the one month and three weeks that I have been in the U.S. I have found myself being faced with excitement, confusion and fear sometimes. I can’t help but wonder, “How do I get through all this without losing myself or causing conflict when communication styles, opinions and methodologies to do things differ”? Some of the questions I have found asking myself include:
So how do I deal with people that are out-rightly honest?
How did do I deal with silence the whole day in the office?
Oh! So there are also people who sleep on the streets in America?
How do I deal with different hygiene beliefs and practices?
How do I deal with implicitly defined deadlines?
How do I deal with what I consider an over sensitive gender agenda- don’t address people as male or female- quite confusing!
What’s the best way to greet other people in the same apartment or office building without feeling ignored or like I am being invasive?
How do I balance attending to so many events in the hope of networking and my actual need to rest?
Marijuana is legal in the U.S, what?!
What is Halloween?
All these experiences and many more have all been exciting to learn about, overwhelming at times, and certainly enlightening as I would have not been exposed to this depth of details, had I not travelled for this Fellowship. Now more than ever, the theory of evolution becomes a reality for me, “if an organism can’t adapt, or evolve to its new environment, it will die.” It is at this point that I also realized the need to see our cultural differences positively and, deliberately picking out the strengths so as to energize myself to actively shape my own learning experience- at my host organization and my temporary home and community. Having experienced all this, in this short while, has been a great challenge to overcome myself, leverage the power of diversity, to embrace my self-awareness, awareness of others and how I fit into the bigger picture of becoming a Global Development Professional. To end, I will say travel and enhance your learning curve.