Everyone – I really mean Every. Human. Being. – should try to live in another culture at one point in life. I think one year would suffice as living in another culture. And, I think this adventure would be the most beneficial for Americans, Chinese and people of other types of supremacist-mindset cultures.
Luckily in the States, if you can’t move out of the country, you can find plenty of ethnic pockets within the country, but this isn’t really the best option. This is a plan just for those who absolutely cannot travel.
Our world is moving faster and faster toward a global economy, and that economy requires normal people who can think outside of their cultures to solve cross-country problems. Didn’t we just witness this need for political and cultural objectiveness with the refugee crisis?
There are so many benefits to moving overseas, even if just for a time, but the biggest benefit is breaking from your own cultural norms.
Moving to China helped me to see racism more blatantly within my own culture.
Moving here helped me to see that my expectations for my children’s behavior were too high.
Moving to China helped me to see that the USA is not necessarily the safest country in the world. I feel significantly safer at night by myself on the streets of Beijing than I did on the streets of Fort Worth knowing that no one is carrying a gun and that stranger rape results in the death penalty. Ok… I didn’t go really anywhere outside by myself in Fort Worth because I was too scared. I was scared to walk from my car to my apartment or from my car to Wal-Mart.
I started to have more compassion for immigrants when I moved overseas. I realized that probably in a lot of cases, immigrants aren’t purposely breaking the law. When I came to China, they didn’t give me a book of rules translated into English. Over a year ago, I accidentally broke the law due to a misprint on my visa and was given a small fine!
Do they hand out law pamphlets translated in every imaginable language at the airport gates and boarders of the US? Uh… yeah I don’t think so. Searching for specific Chinese laws online is pretty difficult. How many fresh immigrants to the US do you know have access to Internet in the first place, or would know to search for laws online? I’m going to take a wild guess and say that number is very low.
But, employers in both of these countries do know the law. They should be held much more accountable for hiring illegals than the illegal themselves. You had better believe that employers would be serious about making sure their employees are legal if they want to stay in business. And… breaking the law was technically a mistake on my school’s part; so they paid the fine for me and apologized.
I also began to dislike US attitudes about life when I moved overseas. I don’t think that the US has the best culture in the world. I disdain the cancerous entitlement attitude that can be found at every economic level in American society. I am baffled how people can be so easily fooled in the States. I can’t find any other reason to explain Trump. And in that same strain, why is any topic of any value marked as a taboo topic in person, from race, to politics, or to religion? Talking about such topics should be life skills, where mature adults are capable of agreeing to disagree.
Although culture can be treasured, culture can also be destructive and oppressive. There are things I still identify as being American, but if we go back, I know I’ll have some major reverse culture shock. I’m already living in such a way that I’m making conscious decisions about my life choices, rather than blindly following my culture in the way I used to.
Do you live overseas? How has moving overseas changed you?