Lived Experience

Who Are You

There’s something really nice about being in another country and realizing how arbitrary your culture is.

For example, I’ve seen many people in the US with very strong opinions about whether it’s socially acceptable to take off your shoes while flying. From what I’ve gathered, the “correct” American answer is “hell no that’s disgusting.”

So you’ll imagine my delight when getting on a Korean Air flight and seeing 1) slippers on every seat in the plane, and 2) seeing almost every Korean person on the flight immediately take off their shoes to put on the slippers.

(My bias here is to feel vindicated, because long flights while wearing shoes is a PITA.)

Now, this is a single, silly, small observation from one flight.

But imagine how much your perspective would be influenced if you lived in another country, learned and used the local language, ate and drank their food, and celebrated their holidays.

You’d come away with powerful learnings both about the new culture but also about your own. You’d learn more about what’s actually “true” and what your culture just happened to choose a long time before you were born. You’d probably feel even more strongly about certain parts of your country, and less certain on others.

This is just one example of the power of lived experience. Of what actually makes you who you are.

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