To begin, I went to high school in a small Eastern Iowa farm town where the most diversity present in the classrooms was the varied colors of plaid and different brands of cowboy boots. Less than 20 students in my graduating class of 250 were of minority. Although moving away for college in Omaha, Nebraska did not put me in the most diverse city, there were significantly more people in comparison to my hometown cornfields.
Although moving away to the University opened my eyes to different cultures, my eyes were also opened to different values. By breaking out of the walls of my partially secluded town and moving away, I learned more than I ever could in a lifetime of staying in Eastern Iowa. My eyes were opened to a mixture of very strong conservative views, very strong liberal views, and everything in between. While I may not have agreed with all of people’s views, I grew as a person by gaining the ability to greatly respect their passions. Before leaving home, the only passions I believed I had were towards puppies.
While leaving my parents was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do, it was also one of the best things I have ever done. Even if it is only for a year initially, step away from your hometown and see what happens. If we were made to stay in one place for the rest of our lives, we would not have been created with legs. But don’t take that literally, you don’t have to use your legs to walk hundreds of miles to go to someplace new.
One can only go so far in learning about different cultures second handily through items such as television. Instead, go out into the world. It doesn’t even have to be a place thousands of miles away, just as long as there is a diverse change from your hometown to the new place.
After getting the courage to travel away from home, be sure to talk to people to which you would not normally talk. Learn about their struggles, successes, and passions. Build from their life lessons and become stronger person from them, without having to repeat their same mistakes.
Although there may be some language barriers if you travel over seas, there is something that is the same world wide, a smile. Only kidding though, don’t fly to a strange country without studying up on the language beforehand, the universal meaning of a smile is only an added bonus to communicating with words.
In addition to learning about different cultures, venturing away from your home also teaches independence. It teaches you how to ration out Easy Mac and how to get free food for which you indirectly paid. For example, if you pay for a meal at a restaurant it is totally legitimate to take home some extra coffee creamer. Also, I learned to never pay for milk by filling water bottle with milk from the dining hall.
While it may seem scary to venture away from home, know you will learn so much more about others (and yourself) than you ever imagined.