2. GLOBAL UNDERSTANDING
The annual expeditions week is one of the best parts of the school year, especially being given the opportunity to be together and bond within the small community of the international school I attend. My freshmen year out of all is arguably one of the most impactful trips I have experienced – a week spent in Phuket, Thailand. Unlike all other trips, this trip emphasized on interacting with and helping underprivileged Thai Children, many of whom are refugees and orphans. Not only did we get the chance to play with them through physical and artistic activities, but we also helped paint and decorate one of the few walls that sustain a small school, where the children receive education. The culture and the economic condition of the environment had left me in shock and at first and if it wasn’t for the international school that we stayed at, I most likely would have been challenged at a much higher level.
Regardless of the privileges we were given at Phuket in terms of food and hospitality, being faced with a group of kids that did not speak the same language, nor have experienced the same culture as I am, it most definitely brought nervousness and fear of not being able to do my job. Our goal however was not to learn each other’s languages, but rather to interact with each other through activities, presented with a common goal and incorporating as much engagement and joy as possible. The more time we spent, the more comfortable I got with the children and at the end of the week my friends and I teared up as we said our goodbyes, knowing we will most likely never see them again, after spending days bonding.
Verbal communication is a necessity in our evolved societies, however we must not forget that spoken language is not the only form of language. There is art, there is sports, there is music, and there is love, just to name a few. These many forms of languages are what brings us together on a global scale, and we must not completely limit ourselves to our own cultural comfort zones. No matter the economic status, language, or culture, as long as there is a common form of expression shared between you two, it is not hard to achieve cross-cultural and global understanding.