In this episode, I go into a direction that has been on my mind ever since I decided to live permanently outside my nation of birth. I often find it hard to explain to friends and family back in the South Bronx the reasons why I chose to live abroad and face the challenges of living away from familiar faces, places and customs. I didn’t want to fall into the same, and often limited, life style most African-Americans with little or no financial backing often find themselves becoming a part of. Even with a college degree, I felt that I needed to obtain education from other sources to acquire full understanding of the world and, in turn, myself. I also wanted to cast-off the predicted social limits male African-Americans directly or indirectly become a participant of.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL DISCOVER:
I am a podcaster who does a podcast about the, mainly positive, aspects of living life abroad. I must say clearly that there are things that I see in my overseas environment that can upset me if I allow it. I understand that I’m really just a guest and I can’t make my host nation appeal to my western values. I don’t choose to carry negativity with me like a heavy bag of dirty laundry. So what gives?
For example, here in Asia, I’ve witnessed a level of cruelty to animals that burns my heart. In some nations, what I consider animal cruelty is just a means to make a living and feed people. Maybe, because of my western upbringing, I just have a super high level of affection for animals. On the other side of the coin, I have quality long-term friendships with people from very different cultures who frankly know little or nothing about me and don’t require that I offer anything in return. I have never been able to foster these kinds of relationships in my home nation. Now, hold on! Before you jump on me, this could simply be a problem of my own making or my way of creating a feeling that I wasn’t able to feel back home.
Maybe there’s some truth in stating that it’s just easier to accept the things you see as shameful in other countries and cultures than it is your own.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
I think an expat’s viewpoint can offer insights from a cultural awareness angle to people who are of the same or similar background as the expat. I am not saying, nor am I implying, that an expat’s point of view is superior to any other. Living within another culture isn’t as romantic as it may sound and expats have plenty of issues to face that can make them question their reasons for living abroad and many of these issues can cause an expat to pack up, return home and list their overseas journey as a failure.
For a long-term expat, there really isn’t an ending journey. People who are willing to fully engage in different ways of thinking and adjusting to new environments are in a constant state of transformation that brings with it a sense of accomplishment. This accomplishment shows that people have more in common with each other then they think. We just have to keep the doors open to share how similar we really are without overstating our differences.
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