Six Things I Learned in Six Months
i was ignorant.
Think about it…
If you are an American, when is that last time you equally compared another country to ours? We are taught from an early age that we live in the most privileged area of the world. We are educated as if there is no significant life – form outside of this country. We have been manipulated by an invisible philosophy stating, “If do you not live here, you must desperately want to live here.” We are brought up to be obsessed with ourselves. Yes, I do mean our obsession with American celebrities, American technology, American cuisine… as well as our obsession with the different races, ethnic backgrounds, and cultural ethics our country consists of.
I definitely did not realize this instantly. At first I was mentally judging Australia as a mediocre imitation of America. I found myself asking questions like, “Why do you do this? – we don’t," as if the American lifestyle was the RIGHT way of living. I felt the need to compare what was customary to what was unfamiliar. In reality, I was just uneducated.
Do not get me wrong, I was the biggest advocate for America even 9000 miles away. I do love this country. It has been home for nineteen years and some odd months of my life. But, we are conditioned to believe that we are the best. We are conditioned to believe that every other country is a second–class country… below us. We are conditioned to think that our people, our lifestyle, our clothes, our sports, our technological advances, our government, even our laws, are better than other countries.
In six months I got to experience this face first. In six months I became more educated because I shed the American ideology. I learned that among the other three-quarters of the globe there are places, ideas and lifestyles different from ours. While I initially found these differences strange, I learned that these differences contribute in making our world so colorful and dynamic. I realized the abnormalities in my mindset were based on perspective. Nothing was strange. It was all beautiful.
The American ideology is not a permanent stigma. It is an ingrained scar we unknowingly have obtained throughout the course of our life. Thankfully scars – while they are traces of pain and misunderstanding, symbolize growth, change and healing.