My Intercultural Experience
By Jessie Jiang
The world can be viewed differently; I must be open-minded enough to form a relationship with someone.
I used to feel sad when I couldn’t persuade someone to think in the same way as me. So in my younger age, my friends are all kind persons, kind enough to not say anything against an argument. For people who don’t always agree with me, I stay away from them. This personality changed after I met Professor Mai. Professor Mai is one of the newest professors in our Communication department, but he is an Anthropologist. He is different from the other professors, because he didn’t tell us how to do journalism, but changed our perception on how to understand people and their worldview. He used his way to tell us that a historian or an anthropologist should first be a listener, so does a journalist.
Be tolerant, be open-minded. Being tolerant doesn’t mean that you don’t argue with someone and keep the surface harmony. Tolerance means you have your own worldview, but at the same time you understand, at least try to understand a different worldview. Being open-minded allow you to link the other person’s worldview with his/her experience. Being open-minded also allow you to link your own worldview to his/hers and try to understand the world in a whole new different way.
We several students traveled to Hong Kong with professor Mai when I was a Junior. Hong Kong was colonized by the Great Britain before. There was a big church right in downtown (just like most downtown in the United States). That surprised me, especially when I saw that the church was so old and the buildings surrounding it were so new and modern. I talked to some Hong Kong citizens later, and found that religion is one of the routines in their lives. At least, religion is one of the important components in their daily lives, just like eating, drinking, and walking. The people in Hong Kong must perceive the world in a different way than me, whom born in a country that doesn’t have a strong religious tradition. Later I came to study in the United States, and I discovered an interesting phenomenon that made me rethink the Hong Kong landscape. Here, there are churches in downtown, but the downtown here (at least in the cities I went) are not the most crowded places. The residential and shopping areas are all spread out in suburban areas, and there are rarely churches at those places. I am curious, how the experience here shape people’s perception on religions and their church lives?
Yes, the question is my ending. This is my intercultural experience, and it allowed me to become a tolerant, curious, and open-minded person.