When I was just a child the world seems like an endless place, and all the world was to me was my backyard. As I grew, I slowly began to realize that in-fact despite the world’s size, we are all connected somehow and each personal encounter that I experience adds to that connection. This awareness truly began to resonate with me when I transferred to Loomis Chaffee. Upon arriving, I had not truly experienced much of the world besides a few vacations and a few students in my classes that had some immediate background to a foreign country.
Andover, Massachusetts a town just outside of Boston, which predominantly is a: Caucasian, wealthy, and close-nit community. Education was highly regarded in Andover, accordingly we did learn a lot about other cultures in school, but lacked the hands on experience. Eventually I made the decision it was time to leave Andover High and start my next chapter at Loomis Chaffee. When I first arrived at Loomis Chaffee I did not have much worldly experience, but now I know Loomis was the perfect place for me to acquire some. Upon arriving I discovered a very diverse place.
Kids from all over the world went there and I soon became friends with many of them. To name a few; Win from Thailand became a close friend of mine whom I connected with during our long hours studying science. Then there was Richard and Prosper, two soccer players from Nigeria who loved to come and learn about lacrosse and American culture. These three individuals opened up a whole different world in my eyes. Win was here on orders from his government to receive a degree in Bioengineering, then was to return home to Thailand after completing college, and work for the government.
Richard had not seen or talked to his family in over a year and Prosper talked about his life growing up on the streets and how soccer was what saved him. All lives very different from mine, and when I told them about my life I felt somewhat ashamed at the times I complained about walking to school or long practices. This experience enlightened me to different my life was from the rest of the world, but also how connected we are. The world is more connected now than ever and many are now saying the world is once again flat.
The reason for this is the constant connection in our everyday lives to countries on the other side of the planet. For example, if I am looking at the tag for several of my clothes I see, “Made in China” or “Made in Vietnam”. So now instead of your clothes being made either down the street at some local mill they are made halfway across the earth, then shipped, and sold here in America. That’s not all there are also cars from Germany, T. Vs from Japan, food from around the world everything now is connected.
I believe the best example of how closely we are all connected would have to be my freshman year roommate named Popeye. In the summer before coming to the College of Wooster I received a notice of whom my roommate would be; his name was an extremely long Chinese name, and he was from Beijing. I was baffled at first on how we ended up matching up on, but we ended up working out great together. At the beginning of summer I contacted him through emails provided by the school. He told me how he did not have a Facebook or any social media because of what he referred to as, “The Great Firewall of China.
I could not help but laugh at this comment thinking he was joking, but later found out about the strict internet policies that exist in China. In turn, we had to resort to a messaging service in order to communicate, from there he told me to just to refer to him as Popeye. Popeye and I ended up being great roommates despite us not having the identical likes and dislikes. For starters, he introduced me to a whole different variety of food from China that his parents sent him and I introduced him to different foods that are here.
We would play video games together and I would teach him English and he would teach me Chinese, and soon as the year went by we realized we weren’t that different. Here were two kids from completely different areas and lifestyles but he, just like I, loved to play video game and watch sports. So just like that I again was shown how the world was not such a big place anymore and how people are connected, whether they are conscious about it or not. With the world being so closely tied together now whether that be on a financially level or a personal one; everyone has to be an active global citizen.
I do not believe people have a choice in the decision of being an active citizen or not, it is something that is forced onto people. I say this from personal experience, as I have matured, I learned more and more about other peoples cultures, met different people, was exposed to more worldwide news, and battled for positions in groups with people from around the world. One simply cannot avoid this unless you go live in the woods with no human contact; if you wish to be an active member in society then you must take these moments head on.
So yes, I do believe I am an active global citizen because I read news from around the world, contribute to the global economy by purchasing goods from other countries, and I engage people from multiple countries on a daily basis. Basically I’m saying one does not have to travel to multiple countries and help out in each and everyone in order to be a global citizen, they just need to be active in stay informed on what is happening in the world.