Study abroad is all about Diversity

Our apartment's diversity map (and Ilona's head)
Our apartment's diversity map (and Ilona's head)

Random Observation/Comment #177: Visiting Germany, I would expect to see a large number of Germans; however, the majority of my friends have been from everywhere but Germany.  The major countries I’ve noticed are Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Hungary, Spain, Italy, and the States.  Since I’m living in this international dormitory world, I suspect that I was roomed with fellow foreigners, but I didn’t expect the complete lack of German presence in my nightlife and regular adventures.  I mean, there are a few, but their English is good enough to pass as Americans.  It’s not that I’m complaining, though, because the people I’ve met are wonderful and interesting in their own way – I’m just slightly surprised.

Groups initially form through common backgrounds due to their language comfort.  Interestingly enough, I haven’t met a Chinese student in the entire dorm.  I think they’ve been hiding from me.  Not to worry, though, I tend to drift towards odd crowds when I’m traveling.  Even when there were fellow Americans from Rhode Island or Boston (I think they’re both the same size so it’s valid to group them), I did not feel attracted to follow their crazy ways.  It might be the case because they live on another campus, but instead, I hung out with the Hungarians and the Turkish purely by majority influence.  I was pulled towards the group of abnormally attractive Hungarians girls, but mostly drifting based on the events I considered more fun.

Although there is a small group separation, we all seem to mingle fairly well.  The nomadic ones from each group would tag along with different people based on personality similarities and differences.  At least for me, I rather spend time with people that I could not meet in NYC.  Yes, I know I could meet people from a range of diversities, but their attitudes would unfortunately still maintain that American twist (which is quite hard to explain).  I’m more interested in having the option of drifting between groups so I can just be myself and not necessarily push for conversation.  There is an inexplicable natural flow to this group formation tendency.  We all want to be a part of some type of comfortable group, but at the end of the day, we’re all hoping our connections are broad enough to be invited to events.

I celebrate this diversity, and I hope others appreciate the differences in culture and customs.   The interesting part is that we all come from the same generation, so there exists an age-based culture that crosses through any political or national boundary.  You can consider it pop-culture directly influenced by mainstream media or Inter-webs.  Either way, we can speak about common topics and relate to the issues that have shaped our personalities.  After all, we’re all human.

The best part is that we’re all in the same situation – we’re studying abroad in a new environment with a mouth-full of independence.  It’s college, but upgraded with foreign languages, unusual customs, and translated alcohol labels.  For me, it’s a taste of that “college life” that teased me while I over-credited and melted my brain with an overload of information and a lack of sleep.  There just seems to be so much more free time now, and my choices shift from “I must” to “I should” to “I might” to “I’ll do it later.”  As the essence of procrastination explores new boundaries, I am happy to say I’ve enjoyed wasting time with those in a similar situation.

Every single person I have met in Germany and on this trip have been fascinating in their way.  It’s most probably my weird way of thinking that makes them interesting even if there qualities aren’t as noticeable (to themselves or anyone else).  It’s this more optimistic view on people’s personalities that makes meeting people a little more cheerful.  Well, whatever method that works to keep me a little social will be exploited.  Am I having fun yet?

~See Lemons Study Abroad


Yay, pictures of shoes!
Yay, pictures of shoes!


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