Don't Forget To Pack Your Cultural Sensitivity

Don't Forget To Pack Your Cultural Sensitivity

Try to keep an open mind.
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You're in a new country, with a brand new culture, group of people, and way of life. What are you doing? How are you acting?

Cultural sensitivity is being aware that differences and similarities exist among cultures and people, without assigning them a value - better or less, right or wrong. The act of cultural sensitivity allows you to learn about and understand people whose cultural background differs from yours.

Cultural sensitivity is a highly important trait to uphold in your day to day life, but it is especially important for those of you who are studying abroad.

It is easy to become stuck in the bubble that is the United States, but don't let this limit your mind to thinking one type of culture is more superior than the other. My biggest pet peeve is when people venture abroad, to only seek the comfortability of food and culture they had back home.

It is OK to miss people and certain types of food, but once your entire experience begins to revolve around nitpicking differences between cultures; that is where you begin to let the entire experience run past you.

You are choosing to study abroad to immerse yourself in a brand new culture of people. Differing values, political views, food, and ways of dress exist. It is important to familiarize yourself with such differences before you embark on your journey. Once you are there, soak in every opportunity to have fun, but remember you are a guest of whatever country in which you are studying.

To be closed minded to the disparities between values and acceptable attitudes in different regions is staying ignorant.

Do not sneer at someone else’s food. It may seem odd and outlandish to you, but it is very normal to the people there. Remember your manners. If you don’t try you will never know.

Be aware of your actions in public. You are representing your school and the entire country in which you are from. Your ignorance towards your surroundings may make you a target for pick-pocketers.

To be actively cautious of the different lives people live, and the different traits they view as rude is difficult, but to not even try to learn and embrace the culture of people you are living with is obscene.

With the world becoming more intertwined than ever before, we as a growing generation must educate ourselves on the various forms of life and culture of people around the world. Once we begin to learn to accept differences and find similarities within common humanity, we will be growing a more sensible generation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm A Christian And I Have A Tattoo

Stop judging me for it.
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Like most people, I turned 18 years old during the course of my senior year of high school. I’ll never forget the months prior to my birthday, though, because I spent hours making a decision that would be with me forever, the decision of where I would go to get my first tattoo and where that tattoo would go, and of course I spent a lot of time deciding on the font, the colors, and all of the other aspects of the tattoo I wanted. Throughout this time, two things stood firm 1) the fact that I was going to get a tattoo, and 2) the six letter name that it would consist of.

Now, three years later, I’m 21 years old and I still get the occasional dirty look at church on Sunday or in line at Walmart, and more often than not this look is accompanied by the following words: “Why would you do that to your body when God says not to?” A few weeks ago at a new church, a woman came up to me and said, “How can you consider yourself a Christian when you have that blasphemous thing on your foot?”, I simply smiled at her and said: “God bless you, have a good week.” I let it roll off of my back, I’ve spent the past three years letting it “roll off of my back”… but I think it’s time that I speak up.

When I was 8 years old, I lost my sister. She passed away, after suffering from Childhood Cancer for a great deal of my childhood. Growing up, she had always been my best friend, and going through life after she passed was hard because I felt like even though I knew she was with me, I didn’t have something to visually tribute to her – a way to memorialize her. I, being a Christian and believing in Heaven, wanted to show my sister who was looking down on me that even though she was gone – she could still walk with me every day. I wanted it for me, for her. I wanted to have that connection, for her to always be a part of who I am on the outside – just as much as she is a part of who I am on the inside.

After getting my tattoo, I faced a lot of negativity. I would have Leviticus 19:28 thrown in my face more times than I cared to mention. I would be frowned on by various friends, and even some family. I was told a few times that markings on my body would send me to hell – that was my personal favorite.

You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks on you: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:28

The more I heard these things, the more I wanted to scream. I didn’t though. I didn’t let the harsh things said about me and my choice change the love I have for the Lord, for my sister, or for the new precious memento on my left foot. I began to study my Bible more, and when I came to the verse that had been thrown in my face many times before – I came to a realization. Reading the verses surrounding verse 28, I realized that God was speaking to the covenant people of Israel. He was warning them to stay away from the religious ways of the people surrounding them. Verse 28 wasn’t directed to what we, in today’s society, see as tattoos – it was meant in the context of the cultic practice of marking one’s self in the realm of cultic worship.

26 "You shall not eat anything with the blood, nor practice divination or soothsaying. 27 You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads nor harm the edges of your beard. 28 ‘You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD. 29 ‘Do not profane your daughter by making her a harlot, so that the land will not fall to harlotry and the land become full of lewdness. 30 ‘You shall keep My sabbaths and revere My sanctuary; I am the LORD. 31 ‘Do not turn to mediums or spiritists; do not seek them out to be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God."
Leviticus 19:26–31

The more I have studied my Bible over the past few years, the more I pity those who rely on one verse in the Old Testament to judge and degrade those, like myself, who made the decision to get a tattoo for whatever reason they may have for doing so. This is because, you see, in the New Testament it is said that believers are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament – if we were, there would be no shellfish or pork on the menus of various Christian homes. While some see tattoos as a modification of God’s creation, it could also be argued that pierced ears, haircuts, braces, or even fixing a cleft lip are no different.

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor."
Galatians 3:24-25

In Galatians, we read that the Old Testament law was created to lead people to Jesus. However, we know that Jesus has come and died on the cross for our sins. He has saved us, therefore we are no longer held to this law in order to have a relationship with the Lord. Our relationship with Him comes from believing that Jesus came to Earth to die on a cross for our sins, and repenting of our sins – accepting Jesus as our Savior.

I am a Christian, I have a relationship with the Lord that is stronger than it has ever been, and - I HAVE A TATTOO.

I have a beautiful memento on my left foot that reminds me that my sister walks with me through every day of my life. She walked with me down the red carpet at my senior prom, she walked with me across the stage the day I graduated from high school, and she continues to be with me throughout every important moment of my life.

My tattoo is beautiful. My tattoo reminds me that I am never alone. My tattoo is perfect.

Stop judging me for it.

Cover Image Credit: Courtney Johnson

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To Fathers Acting like Parents, Not Strangers

You are a rare breed.

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Thank you for everything that you are; for knowing that it is better to try to be there than to be absent entirely; for loving your children instead of teaching them not to love themselves.


"Father": there are many that vacate this title. Either they don't know what it means or they do and simply do not want to take on the role. It's "too much" for them. Tell me, is a father's presence too much for him or is his absence too much for the children? Who hurts more? The fathers at least had something to let go of, but a child never had anything to hold onto. Perhaps now their small hands only grasp the notion of a family, but even then, the concept is too big for them to wrap their fingers around.


So thank you for not letting your children's childhood lay as a corpse in a casket. Thank you for showing them that they are not some part-time job. Thank you for letting them know that they weren't a job to begin with; that loving them iseasy and difficult— but never impossible. Thank you for staying and making your presence worth it.


Thank you.

Cover Image Credit:

Derek Thomson

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