I was out last night for a Brazilian Birthday party. All the people were new to me and they were all Brazilian…I met this group through my American friend and unfortunately, he could not make it last night…It was an interesting experience…It was amazing to meet new people, get to know their cultures…. Half of them looked like Indians and Pakistanis to me…after they started to talk, then you understand, they are not! Let me share some of my thoughts and experiences on cultures and why you need to meet new people.
How many countries friends or people have I met? How did I meet them ?
I think it is fair for me to share my story before I advise anything…I am very outgoing in nature and do not care at all to hang out with people from other countries. Most of my friends are international and not just Indians J . Firstly, when I was in MS, I was part of many international student organizations at school…Primarily, I met people from Mexico, Iran, Turkey, Dubai, Pakistanis and Sri Lankans and of course Americans…I did not really embrace much of the culture as I was new to US and naïve. After I started working, I took out Salsa lessons and then started to meet so many people at Salsa Dancing…I absolutely love the Latin American Cultures and their music. Also, at work I used to work with Argentineans …Anyways, I met people from over 20 countries….ranging from Chile to Russia…It is amazing every time I meet new people, I ask them to understand how things work in their culture and how they do stuff. What’s interesting is, they ask me tons of questions about India and they love the culture and people… The conversation is on variety of subjects like food, music, greeting people, night life, politics, culture, etc.
US is the Melting pot for Cultures!
Think about it for a second, how many international people have you met when you were in your home country ? I can tell you honestly, I never seen anyone or met anyone other than Indians, just people from other states. Everything was plain vanilla…there was no variety….it was just like a frog in well for me….Now in America, I just walk on the street and I can recognize people that they are from so many different countries….What an opportunity to meet new people ? Many people take it for granted and do not mingle with people of other countries….the reality is, most of us never had an opportunity for cross-cultural interaction. But now that you are in US you have that golden opportunity to meet new people and get to know their cultures…it is important for many reasons to meet new people.
Why is it important to meet people ? Work ? Social life ?
Our life is so much tied to work, guess what ? As Thomas Friedman says, “World is Flat”. At my previous job, I worked with people from Argentina, Germany, UK, France, Americans (obviously) and India. Except Indians, I do not know any other cultures, it was hard for me initially to deal with cultural change..I had to watch what I write and say in conference calls. You have to be very careful with cultures, some of it may be very casual for you, but it may be offensive for other cultures. There are so many cultural differences, you do not want to do anything stupid and offend someone… How can you understand a culture unless you know someone from other cultures and interact with them ? So, meeting people from other cultures is very important for your work…
Lets look from a social perspective, my experience meeting new people and their cultures have been phenomenal. There are so many stories in every culture, it is just a great feeling to know about cultures, you cannot travel everywhere…at least you can appreciate a piece of it from conversations…if you do get to travel, you know what to look for J ….Also, if you meet someone from the same country next time, you have something in common, you share what you know…the other person will be amazed by your interest and it creates good friendships and bonds quickly…. America is a Melting pot for cultures, just use your opportunity in US and meet new people…it is good for your career and also social life !
What do you think about Meeting new people from various cultures ? Any stories to share ?
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