Why Can’t We be Friends? There are one hundred and ninety six different countries in the world. There are thousands of ethnic groups among these countries. Within all of the diverse places we are all similar because we are all human. We have the same wants and same needs; the only thing that makes us different is the location we originated. Here in the United States, Americans, whether realizing it or not, consider themselves higher in status. Even though they are diverse within themselves, the whole is considered the superior people by not only themselves but by surrounding countries as well.
They have first-rate justice systems, improved living situations, high-class transportation, finer luxuries, and enhanced overall lifestyles. My college English class was informed that we must interview an international student to discuss their opinions about the U. S. , and it was an exciting topic to conceive. Who better to ask then an individual that has lived in the distant country, smelt the air, and walked the grounds. I began scouring the halls of Louisiana State University to find this individual to interview about their culture and the first person that came to mind was my chemistry tutor.
The next day after our tutoring session I asked her for an interview and immediately she responded with a delighted “Yes. ” She was eager to help any college student like herself with subject. In the journey as a college student, many exceptional and fascinating people have come across my path, but no one quite as unique as Runa. Runa is a student at Louisiana State University. Her native country is Jamshedpur, India. It is a small town in northeast India with a population of about 1,300,000. Mostly industrial steel companies control the town.
The people of Jamshedpur typically work for the companies and in return they only pay to reside in the town. All their utilities, amenities, etc. is covered by the industry. The typical income is about one million rupees, or the equivalent to 18,000 U. S. dollars annually. This town is unlike others in India because it is extremely industrialized. For example, India has a fairly significant water problem. Although it rains a lot there, the temperature is scorching and most water evaporates, so in the north, west, and south it is extremely hard to get water.
Women as a daily task on top of caring for the home and children, must travel four miles round trip to bring a bucket of water into the home for cleaning and drinking, and usually takes four trips to have h water for these tasks. The east, Jamshedpur included, does not have this water issue because of the industrialization around there. Don’t let this problem fool you. There are many wonderful cultural occurrences to be experienced in India. They have beautiful garden sanctuaries with massive statues where anyone can visit, but most attendees are Hindi.
With this very basic picture of my town now in mind,” she said, “let me start with my childhood. ” She grew up in an urban neighborhood where school was but a short distance from her home. Typically most children didn’t have the luxury of a car to ride to school and lived too far to take the bus, so the walk was long and tiresome. Runa was not only close enough to the school to walk only a short distance she could also take a two-minute bus ride. She chose to take the short ride in her parents’ automobile, and I guess you could say she was more fortunate than others in this way. The school was not your typical primary school.
Although India does indeed have public schools like the United States, she was privileged to attend a private school, and not just any private school, the town’s best catholic private school. Kindergarten through twelfth grade was spent here. Runa learned curriculum paralleling a typical American’s education. They learned things like ABC’s, 123’s, how to write, and how to read earlier in life. During a typical Americans’ middle school years, she was learning much more demanding courses like chemistry, calculus, and biology at the age of 13. Even in early stages of life, Runa was destined for greatness.
She grew up learning to not only be fluent in Bengali, the native language, but also in Hindi and English. There was a brief time where the school was strictly girls only, but that changed soon after Runa attended due to the growing population. She enjoyed her studies very much. Returning home was the best part of her day; at home she would receive catering by “house-help” as she called them. How nice it must have been for her to have such a pampered environment to retire to. After her school days, her family agreed with her that it was time for her to venture away from the comforts of home to a bigger pond, the United States of America.
She traveled to Louisiana because some of her distant family resided there. Louisiana State University was her first choice in the state to attend college. She fell in love with the campus, people and curriculum. Runa is a perfect example of a “non-traditional Indian. ” She is talented at a variety of different things, but the most notable is science, especially chemistry. She is a supplemental instructor teaching chemistry. Runa came to the United States after she spent all of her childhood in India. After a brief time in the states, she immediately knew the field in which she wanted to study.
Her dream was decided after the second week of school, she wanted to be a biochemist. Around that time, shortly after her first semester, she met the love of her life. He became her ambassador for all things American, including himself. He taught her about our holidays, like the 4th of July, Valentine’s day, and Halloween. He showed her all of our fine cuisines like hamburgers, French fries, and cherry pie. He also showed her all of our past times, like movie theaters, malls, and Now this was an interesting topic, and for anyone curious about Indian cultures when this interracial relationship came up, a question urgently needed an answer.
Are interracial relationships looked at differently in India compared to the United States? ” Apparently Runa thought this was a very amusing question. She responded with a chuckle. The way she described this sensitive topic was that Indian culture is fairly similar to American culture. ‘We may dress differently, speak different languages, practice different beliefs, but overall we are no different in our beliefs about these things. My family is more liberal than others and it’s OKAY that I live with my non-Indian boyfriend in the United States and I am making something of myself.
Now if I were in a very small traditional family they would probably have issues with it, just like some very religious or prominent family might with their sons or daughters in the United States. ” She has a very interesting view of the world after experiencing both places completely across the map from one another; ‘What if it was more about people and less about the culture? What if things like skin color, food, religion, and region were just trivial points that were destined to keep different sectors of the world on different levels, dividing nations instead of uniting?
Instead of comparing every foreign country to “us,” the United States, maybe we should compare ourselves to other countries. When we define another country and imagine the people that reside there, we should see ourselves. They are just like us, even though they might live in a diverse place with unusual everyday routines and traditions. Runa’s parents were born and raised in Jamshedpur and remain there today. Although she doesn’t see them very much anymore, the family she does have in the U. S. has made the transition better for her than most international students.
Every visit with her family in India is bittersweet and unforgettable. A lot of her transition was made especially easy because of her family pushing her to learn more about American ways. She has become a very strong, liberal, and independent Indian woman, proud of her roots and home, but she wouldn’t change living in the United States for anything. There are a lot more opportunities for her to flourish in her field in the United States, than back home. She feels very honored to have the opportunity to enjoy the best of both worlds.
There are one hundred and ninety six different countries in the world. There are thousands of ethnic groups among these countries. Within all of the diverse places we are all similar because we are all human. We have the same wants and same needs; the only thing that makes us different is the location we originated. Through several conversations with Runa, she has opened my eyes to what it is like to an international student and experience a different part of the world. Runa has influenced me to one day experience India for myself.
Both the United States and India have transformed her into the person she is today. She has her Indian heritage to understand where she came from, and her trip to the United States has helped her discover who she can become. Overall, Runa is a very impressive character. She has taken to the United States with ease by the age of 21. It is likely that wherever she goes, whether she fulfills her goal to travel to Germany or elsewhere for graduate school, and whatever she does, her career will be successful and bring honor to our beloved LSU. We should all be proud to have Runa as a fellow student at LSU.