I learned a lot in my Erasmus period in Spain. When I came here I had my European vision about what should be specific about every nationality. I expected Spanish people to dance and all the time fiesta (this is not partially untrue), Koreans to play StarCraft and Irish people to drink only Guinness.
I met wonderful people from all over the word: China, Japan, South Korea, U.S., Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Estonia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Latvia, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and I hope I haven’t forgotten too many.
They changed my view (and I don’t mean only some of my closest friends that are here in the picture). I learned more about conflicts in the Pacific area and selective abortion practice in Asia, about military and North Korean policies, about Turks and Kurds attacks, the truth about poverty and drugs in Columbia and Chile, inside perspective in Germany territorial rivalry, the differences between Irish and Scots, about worldwide discrimination and most important about religious freedom and tolerance.
As European we are determined to believe that our ideas and principles are unanimous and we forget about diversity, becoming harder to accept the one different from ourselves. We live in the globalization era, when immigration is common for every country, so we should get used to accept a multicultural experience. So just because you like Chinese food or Anime, doesn’t mean that you don’t stereotype Asians.
As Romanian, I cannot say that I’ve been discriminated, but when some people here your nationality they immediately put you in a box. For Romanians that box usually contains gypsies, beggars, thieves, housekeepers and drivers. My skin complex and my ability to speak fluently Spanish like a Latino amazed them, giving me a second chance of not being included in the normal box. It’s easier for the human brain to categorize persons and object so that they could be remembered easily, but we should stop generalizing. Not all Romanians are bad, not all Asian people eat babies, not all Muslims carry the Jihad.
One person cannot change the world or change the view of its billions inhabitants. Don’t let others convince you.
Travel yourself and discover your own truths!