Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Inter-culture Understanding

Guteriano Neves

Now, I cannot find anymore words to describe this trip. I feel like there are too many interesting stuff, and too many aspects to write about. Starting from wonderful coordinators, group members, the sites that we visited, until the lessons that we have learned so far, all of them are so wonderful.

We started our day with trip to State capitol, and the first white house of the confederacy. Our first visit to the first white house of the confederacy was just a session for taking picture. After that, we went to the State capitol and had one hour tour inside the capitol. Both activities are helpful because it helps us to understand the place of Alabama in the history of the United States, especially when it comes to civil war, and confederate state.

The two most important activities that we did were visiting to the Civil Right Memorial. In this memorial, we learned about every individual’s contribution to the movement. Those people are ordinary people like us, who lived in the incredible circumstance.

After that, we headed to Rosa Park Museum. In this museum, we have opportunity to learn Park’s courage to bring bus boycott, which is one of the pivotal point in the civil rights movements. However the interesting point is that the whole reconstruction about Buss boycott does not focus on Park’s roles, instead it moved to other individuals like King and his colleagues.

For me, the most touching to me is visiting to the Civil Rights Memorial, particularly, when we entered the lab section. In this department, we were exposed to the issues that are still going on today, and it calls for our contribution to be the agents of change. It covers the issue of race, homophobia, gay and same sex marriage, illegal immigrants, peace, justice, etc. These are the global issues that we, as a student, we have to be agent of change. We can do that based on our ability. We can start from our colleagues who are always with us, from family, classroom, school, to the community. If we can change one person’s attitude and behaviour, we have done something to change the world.

Moreover, throughout the trip, I also try to talk with friends who are from the United States, to know what their thoughts about America as a society, its history, and its government. It is an opportunity to me to interact with them, and to understand each other. In this context, we are trying to practice being agent of change by trying to understand other cultures and circumstance. By understanding each other, we would not jump to judge other so easily without understanding the history, and the context where they live and they grow up.

From various conversations that we have done, it reveals that most of Americans want peace, justice, and equality. However, these voices are hardly heard in the mass media, and are not represented when it comes to the United States’ Foreign Policy. Consequently, most people who do not understand begin to hate American because of the American Foreign Policy. This, in turn, is exploited by extremism, and radicalism all over the world. Personally, I do think that United States’ foreign policies have created more problems. But, understanding American society would not lead me to hate America as a society.

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