by Tamara A.
Think about how accessible the world is to us. 100 years ago, people weren’t able to jump on a plane to visit the opposite side of the globe. 50 years ago, people were unable to open up their computer and read news from any and all continents. Even 20 years ago, people didn’t have the ability to sign into a chat room or Skype to communicate freely with others internationally.
The whole world is really within our grasp. And I love that so many people take advantage of that. Whether is be the modern transportation or communication methods, there are so many possibilities for exploration and education on the international front for individuals that we have no excuse to not open our eyes to the world beyond our own.
I recognize that it is difficult to stay up-to-date on the latest happenings in all countries. I admit that I have trouble doing that and fail to read the news as much as I should and definitely less than I am able to (newspapers and internet access everywhere). However, that isn’t the point. Being aware of what it going on politically and economically in the worldwide community is great and helpful to understanding the global balance of things, but simply acknowledging the struggles, accomplishments, and happenings that occur outside of our own immediate community is the primary step in accepting that we are part of a bigger, broader society.
We have the opportunity to be exposed to and be a part of way more than generations before us. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to travel as freely as I have in my lifetime already. Having spent a semester in Spain, volunteered in Peru, and visited friends and family in Europe, I have gained a body of cultural knowledge that is truly invaluable. While I understand that not everyone is able to/wants to travel extensively (and there is nothing wrong with that…it is simply something that I have placed priority on in my own life), the fact that the population today has the chance to hop continents and broaden our horizons in that manner is amazing to me.
Beyond literal traveling, there are so many ways to be exposed to the world without actually boarding a plane. I see language as an intimate way of getting to know and showing your respect for another community. I recently have been very interested in my German roots and the idea of being able to communicate with my family that still lives in Germany. One of my German friends sent me a message about a week ago about a website, Glovico.org, that she was introduced to through a convention about social business that was hosted at her university. She sent me this because she knows about my interest in languages and social business. While it does not offer German as a learning option, it is a remarkable opportunity for individuals to receive language lessons from native speakers and for the teachers, still living in their respective countries and many from developing countries, to make a living. With all of the lessons set up on an individual basis and using Skype as the communication mode, I find this to be an incredible example of the cultural exposure that we are afforded now. What an awesome opportunity for the people on both ends of these exchanges!
In the end, I am simply stunned by the great ways that we are able to interact with our global neighbors. It truly has become a small world after all.