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England Changed My Life
Question Answered: Recall a multicultural experience that has positively impacted your educational career. Discuss your experience and describe the ways in which you have benefited from this experience.
It all started with an unfortunate and disheartening circumstance. The father of my oldest and dearest friend, Caitlin, had been transferred. Caitlin would no longer be living down the street from me. In fact, she would be over 4,000 miles away just south of London, England. To a pair of twelve year old girls, England was an unimaginable land of tea-drinking fops living on an island almost an eternity away. Needless to say, the day of her departure was an unhappy one. However, three years older and a world wiser, we girls have come to appreciate and even enjoy the influence this situation has upon our lives.
Six months after Caitlin and her family moved away from Pittsburgh, I found myself in plane destined for Heathrow airport. Not only did I arrive with an unnecessary amount of luggage, but also a head full of pre-conceived notions. First and foremost, I believed that everywhere in the world would be exactly like the United States. This idea was proven false five minutes after stepping off the plane. Walking into the parking lot, I took notice of a petty detail I would have otherwise been oblivious to. The license plates were strikingly different! This simple aspect was enough to make me realize that I was no longer at home. Throughout that first day, many stereotypes of the English that I had long believed were each erased from my mind. As it turns out, not everyone likes to drink tea, there isn't a garden party every evening, and the Queen most definitely does not ride around in a horse-drawn carriage with a magnificent entourage all day greeting the simple peasant folk. Luckily, I realized these things before I had an opportunity to make a fool of myself and severely offend the people I met.
Not only did my experience in England increase my social aptitude, but also greatly improved my understanding of the world as a whole. When I returned to school in the following months, I could grasp the concept of different cultures and countries. They were no longer simply spots on a map, but real places filled with interesting people leading fascinating lives.
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I know I have already been very lucky to be given the opportunity to travel throughout foreign countries. However, these experiences should and will continue throughout my life. The affect that this has had is enormous and extremely influential. To think that I might still have held those ridiculous stereotypes if I had not visited Caitlin is quite remarkable indeed. Cultural understanding and acceptance is possibly the most important issue in our world today, and I hope to be seen as an example of the benefits of such thinking. The world is becoming smaller each day, so we must work together to bridge our differences.