Over the past week, I have learned about the important role of traditions for people in many different cultures all over the world. Since beginning my study abroad program, I have had the pleasure of meeting students from many different countries, including but not limited to France, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Hungary, Spain, and Belgium. While talking with them about their lives and the nature of their countries, I have begun to see how cultural differences affect the way we each live our lives.
It’s one thing to talk to students at my home university who come from all different states. We each have our own traditions– Thanksgiving Day parades, family recipes, 4th of July celebrations– but we all have a similar worldview due to our upbringings and traditions from our country.
Therefore, it wasn’t until this past week that I started to understand how differences in our lifestyles have contributed to the way we commemorate and engage with others. Many things are viewed differently in other countries, such as the foods we eat and their correlated meanings, the importance of family and being connected to one’s community, and the role education plays in one’s life. In other cultural settings, these matters have been starkly different from my own experiences, and I have found that they hold more value and meaning than I had ever considered before.
With this in mind, I believe that discussing and experiencing traditions from other cultures is important to the growth of one’s perception of the world as a whole and consequently, their ability to recognize and reevaluate what is important in life.