Have you ever heard the phrase, “When in Rome, do as the Romans”? As a visitor in another country, it can be difficult blending among the natives of that country. The way you speak is different, your customs are different, and many others qualities that make you unique set you apart from most of the people around you in this new place.You may wonder how can it be possible for people to treat you as if you are a native? The reality of this is that you may never really be treated or perceived as a native of another country. In some cases, it can be possible. You may acquire the accent, the language and other factors that influence the way you do things can fit you right in the culture.In a lot of cases, this is a struggle to achieve.
If you are an American who has been abroad, you may have noticed the perceptions that people from other countries of the world have of us. In some countries, we have a positive reputation in the eyes of the natives. In other countries, we have a negative reputation. Either way, it is like a double edge sword in our ability to blend in. Though it is struggle, there is one ideal thing that you can do-have an open mindset and desire to learn about the country and culture you are experiencing. Whether it is having the motivation to try to speak the language, interacting with people from that country, or simply learning about how things are done in that country, having the desire to learn and understand the country you are experiencing is equivalent to actually blending in. We cannot fully control how people in another country think of us, but we can control how we decide to embrace what makes us unique while still having the motivation to learn about what makes the country you are in unique.
By: Maame Bassaw
Maame is a senior History major and Education Abroad Peer Ambassador at UK. She studied abroad at University of Central Lancashire in Preston, England through the exchange program.
For more information about the program that Maame completed, follow this link to the program page.