Written By Victoria B., – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series
One of my favorite courses that I’m taking this semester is Global Leadership. It forces us (the students) to analyze our life through a cultural lens. Being a multicultural girl has helped shape me into the person I am today. As some of you may already know from my previous blogs, my entire family and I were born in a different country, migrating to the United States around 19 years ago. I was raised in a culturally diverse environment that has led me to develop a deep appreciation and respect for everyone, every religion, and every opinion that differs from mine.
I have an Afro-Latina mother, and an Austrian grandmother, I went to a Turkish middle school and have visited several countries in my 20 years. My upbringing certainly was not conventional by any means but it has helped shape me into the person I am today.
The cultural experiences one has also allows them to build rapport wherever they go. A situation I am reminded of occurred just a few months ago. I was helping out with an International Fest and one of the girls I volunteered with was also Colombian. We hit it off straight away and became instant friends all through sharing the same country of origin. Another instance would be at the same Festival when a Turkish woman came to the food line. Through my time in middle school and Turkey itself, I was able to greet her in Arabic. We formed this instantaneous bond just by exchanging a few short words. I have always known the power of cultural rapport but to experience it firsthand is eye-opening as it puts in perspective how significant these encounters can be.
Not only does being culturally competent make you a better global citizen, but it also increases your chances of success as the word is becoming more “flat”. Meaning, we are able to connect with people from across the globe within seconds thanks to the internet. In today’s society, especially, one has to be hyper-aware of the different cultures and customs that coexist in the world. This heightened cultural intelligence is due in part by the social media platform and the era of accountability this decade has seen.
Another benefit that cultural intelligence can have is the ability to facilitate an environment of positivity and respect. I understand that this is an important attribute to have as the ambiance that a business has can make or break the outcome of success. If the work environment is one rife with insensitivity and lack of willingness to learn, it would serve as a major deficit especially when working (or vacationing) internationally. This means that the more culturally intelligence one has, the better chance they have at thriving in today’s professional world.
A question that often forms in my mind while completing work for this course is ‘Will I ever be fully culturally competent?’ I have ultimately answered that for myself and came to realize that no, no one can ever be completely culturally competent. For some reason, I find solace in that answer as there is always another adventure or experience to be had. This allows for the intelligence and information gained through different experiences to expand the mind and enhance our knowledge pool. What fun can one have if they know absolutely everything?
If it weren’t for the cultural exchanges I have had, I would not have the experience of something different, new, and exciting. Being able to travel, or even connecting with someone from a different culture can expand your outlook on life. This world is home to many people with many different stories, cultures, customs, languages, foods, etc. If we don’t push ourselves to have these interactions we will lose out on potentially life-changing experiences. I encourage all of you to travel, whether it is to Korea or Korea town, you never know who you might meet and the stories you will gain!
– Victoria B., Official Contributor of The Crowned Series