After spending an extended amount of time away from familiar environments one notices things that were once invisible or too low on the radar to cause or influence a major shift in lifestyle. The same happens when someone lives long-term abroad. They notice or see things about not only their host nation, but also their home nation as well.
Comparisons are made and terminologies, especially those related to people and culture, are redefined.
- Personal relationships are recalibrated:
friends, acquaintances, colleagues, enemies, etc, ...
- Opinions are readjusted or redefined:
like, love, care, hate, etc, ...
- Goals are clarified or refocused:
What is considered success as it relates to: business, education and relationships, etc,…
- Your overall life purpose, interactions and material needs within your overseas environment is re-examined.
From outside your home nation you over time, become sensitive or aware of things that would have gone unnoticed if you remained in your home nation. From outside your home nation you see the effects and misrepresentations of collective thinking. You see that collective mentalities or ways of thinking can be used to sway opinions in both negative and positive directions. You learn that it's vital to understand that the poison that is a side effect of ill-disposed tribalism is a major reason for the selective amnesia that has been allowed to propagate and spread like a contagious virus that is destroying the connections between people. This is especially the case in certain parts of the population within my own home nation.
When the gap that defines our cultural uniqueness is placed before us, we have to become more sensitive to how our uniqueness can be misused or abused by those who are looking for ways to manipulate and prevent us from learning that we have a lot more in common than we think. If we continue to give accolades or permit certain people, especially those in leadership positions, to blatantly propagate the misconstrued message that those of us who are of different cultures, speaking different languages, practicing different religions and living by different philosophies or lifestyles as enemies, we start going down the wayward spiral of mutual spiritual and physical death and destruction.
The sad thing is, I think today we are already at the fringe of this breaking point and one small push, either intentional or not, will bring down the fall of once respected nations along with their societies. I’m hoping that my personal overseas experience, along with the many people I’ve been lucky to have on this podcast, could inspire others to interact and constructively engage with people from different nations, cultures, backgrounds and even ideologies and philosophies.
I feel that people shouldn’t be limited or locked into social interactions with those who are exactly like them. Locked in limited social interactions do not allow room for conscious discoveries and innovations. What I’m saying is more “springboards” for quick cross-cultural interactions must be provided to assist in lowering distrust which could later turn into misunderstandings, hate and violence.
The world is not only moving at a rapid pace, but also the reliance on international exchanges has taken on an even more important role. It appears that many policy makers are asleep and very much not aware or don’t care about what is happening in the rest of the world. So therefore, a mature approach is needed to fend off the desire to highlight our differences as a reason to eliminate cultural engagements. We need to get beyond some of the built-up and often perceived fears and prejudices that are deeply rooted in some cultures. I think it would be a much better idea, for the sake of humanity, to make provisions accessible to more people to interact with each other.
Countries along with their leaders that were once thought to be symbols of peaceful progression are now aggressively closing off access to their nations and this is causing detrimental ripple effects all over the world. Other nations are surely taking notice and are also aggressively moving on in ways that will protect their global interests. You can’t blame them for doing so in today’s economic and social-political environment.
When nations become self-interested in narrow and counter productive ways, political vacuums becomes even more volatile and potentially dangerous. It appears that this narrative is being repeated by leaders of nations that were once considered having only negligible international influence.
If this type of narrow-minded cultural avoidances continues, we will all be left in the dark.