Sen Obtal!

Describe an experience you’ve had where cultural diversity – or a lack thereof – has made a difference to you.

My experiences with cultural diversity, while not necessarily limited to one particular event, have had a great impact on my life – most notably in fostering my fascination with world languages. Growing up in a half-Italian, half-Serbian home, I have always been aware of the different traditions, tongues, and customs of Eastern European cultures (both of my grandfathers and all of my great-grandparents were immigrants). More recently, however, I have been exposed to a myriad of diverse lands and languages through meeting friends from all over the world. Of course I have friends of Italian and Serbian descent, but I have also had the good fortune of meeting people from Israel, Taiwan, Argentina, France, Ireland, Brazil, Egypt, Spain, Turkey, Kenya, and numerous other locales. From these friends I have learned not only about their native languages (did you know that sen obtal means “You are crazy” in Turkish?) but about their traditions, pastimes, politics, and everyday lives. In addition, knowing friends from certain countries affords me the opportunity to practice one of my favorite languages – Spanish. (In fact, my Spanish teacher has often asked me to teach her slang words that my friends have taught me!)Through my experiences with these friends from many and varied cultures, I have learned that diversity is encompassed not only by national origin or skin color but by differences in thought, language, politics, and even tastes in music and fashion. From corresponding with people of all backgrounds, I have been given an invaluable gift – a deep appreciation for the amazing variety and cultural richness that God has instilled in the world.

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