Inter-Cultural Communication

I am half-Japanese, half-Korean, but as my father was born in Japan and raised in Japa, he cannot speak Korean and he was not able to experience Korean culture, therefore, I cannot speak Korean and I know hardly anything about Korean culture.

But in Grade 9, for the AISA Tennis Tournament, I had flown to Korea for the tournament. Before I got to Korea, I had no plans on what to do and I was only thinking about playing tennis and I did not have Korean culture in my mind. However, as we were in homestays, I was able to gain the perfect opportunity to interact with Korean culture. My homestay was a very kind person and he had shown me around the city and had taught we about Korean culture and had taught me some Korean.

To begin with, for dinner, he had brought me to a famous Korean restaurant. The restaurant was famous for their chicken and I was very excited to eat Korean food. However, the chicken that was served was extremely spicy and I had struggled to finish it as I had never eaten something as spicy in Japan. Although I knew that in Korean culture, spicy food is a specialty, I did not think that the food would be so spicy that I could not finish it.

After dinner, as seen above, we had gone to the public sauna. Unlike, the hot springs in Japan, the saunas in Korea were a mixture of the big baths, hot springs, and saunas. This was my first time in a sauna, as Japan only lets older people into saunas. Also unlike Japan, we borrow clothes and wear it, where in Japan, we would go into saunas naked. As seen above, we had been in the sauna with both boys and girls together for a very long time and I was able to talk to different people and learn more about their culture.

This trip was great, as I was able to learn a lot about Korean culture and as I am half-Korean, it is important that I know something about Korean culture as it is part of my identity. I was able to understand that culture is part of our identity, and instead of sticking to just one culture, it is important to experience/interact with different cultures to become more global. As I am a student from an International School, it is important that I experience as many cultures as I can.

A year after this trip, my homestay had come to Japan and this time, I was his homestay and I had shown him around Yokohama and I was able to introduce to him some Japanese culture to him. As I knew the importance of interacting with different cultures(from the trip the year before), I had tried my best to let him interact with Japanese culture, as he had done the same for me.

 

Above is a picture of me and my homestay.

Global Understanding

As a CAS activity, I am currently in MUN(Model United Nations). From the various conferences I have attended, I would like to talk about my first KMUN conference in Grade 11, which was held at KIST.

I had joined the MUN, halfway through Grade 10 and as I was still new and did not have too much experience, I did not participate in any conferences that year. However, as I take IB Geography as one of my courses and we talk about issues that are currently going around in the world. As I talk to my classmates about these current issues, I started to wonder if I could in someway use this knowledge in a conference. This is when I had decided to go to the KMUN.

At the conference I attended, I was representing Pakistan, which was a country, I did now know much about. In addition to this, the topic for my community was about the possession of nuclear weapons and the Mars mission.

For KMUN, we work with a partner and make a position paper together and we present the position papers in different assemblies. As my partner had prior knowledge on both Pakistan and the possession of nuclear weapons, he had given me his opinions on the possession of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. Later, in order to be able to perform well at the conference, I had to do some research on my own.

On the day of the conference, there were several people representing different countries and there were delegates who were representing big countries that possess nuclear weapons such as the United States. As the conference progressed, I was able to listen to several perspectives on the possession of nuclear weapons and the Mars mission of over 20 countries. As I had only done research on Pakistan before, the conference, I had a very biased perspective/opinion, as I had believed that Pakistans position is the correct one. However, as I had listened to other peoples position papers, I had started to see the overview of the topic and I was able to gain a global understanding of the issue that several countries are going through right now.

I believe that this first conference had taught me a lot. The biggest outcome of this conference was the fact that I was able to gain a bigger/wider perspective of the world. I had started to understand that it is always important to take into account several views and not be biased in order to gain a global understanding of what is currently going on in the world.

In IB Geography, this has helped me as we write essays on global issues and in my essay I have started to take in several views to show my global understanding and it is working as my scores on these essays have improved, as one of the criteria for the essays was to take into account several perspectives. The KMUN conference has benefited me in several ways and I would still like to participate in other conferences.

Above is a picture which was taken at KIST after all of the conferences ended. KMUN was a great experience for me and I wish to keep on participating in conferences to show my global understanding.