Cultures Clashed. - My Family Travels

In a feminist and misogynist filled world, who’s right?

It was a sunny Saturday afternoon about half-way through my Italian foreign exchange experience.  Twenty-two starving teenaged girls lined a lengthy table, eagerly awaiting lunch – the three boys present were responsible for preparation and service.  Nearly all of their duty was completed aside from the final part – cleaning up after themselves.  

My friend from Hong Kong and I quickly started on washing pots and pans, unnoticed by all but two Thai girls.  They began staring and jaws dropped as soon as they had witnessed our service. 

“What are you doing?!” they confusedly interrogated us upon returning their mandibles to a normal position.

“Nothing…” I laughed, “Just some dishes?”.  Realizing what was happening, the two literally leaped from their seats, ran to the sink, and began insisting and pushing us to go sit down and eat.  I chuckled again, telling them we had already eaten and there was no point in eating twice.  Once again, they stared – in awe that men would even dare to do housework.

The biggest (and, for me, most applicable) lesson learned from this experience would be existing in a more tolerant, globally-influenced world.  While in American culture, it is all but expected for men to help around the house, those from other countries might not necessarily agree.  This small, seemingly simple run-in with another person’s perspective taught me not only to be more tolerant of others’ ideas, but helped fuel my inner curiosity about other societies’ way-of-life.  That said, it was a great way to observe how that though another person’s lifestyle may be different, one must not see it as a “right-vs.-wrong” subject.

Our society is quickly becoming a more global-oriented one; surveys have shown that the up-and-coming generation believes to have more in common with other countries rather than their parents living before them.  Essential character trains such as tolerance and an open mind shall soon become pre-requisites to survive in the modern world. For example, as global commerce continues to expand, countries must respect others’ viewpoints.  Though a Capitalist wouldn’t find much in common with a Communist, as long as both work together in order to accommodate for each other’s values and needs, both must prefer each others’ needs (and not necessarily wants) before their own.  In this sense, we may all learn together to work together to live for a greater good in the world. 



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