There’s more to the world than the United States.
Rural South Dakota isn’t what comes to mind when one talks about what changes one’s life. But I’m going in an opposite direction. I’ve learned more in four years in South Dakota than in 18 years back home in Minnesota.
Minnesota is the best state ever, don’t get me wrong. It just amazes me how sheltered I was in a world I thought wouldn’t stop growing around me. I never considered myself to be a racist. I support all ethnic groups and all genres of life. But I never really talked to a Native American or African American. Is that racism?
I think so. It only took me four years to get a friend from Kenya. Was I too scared to talk to someone from a different country? I don’t think so. I can talk to anyone.
Did I feel threatened or worried being around someone of a different race? No, I don’t even see color. I see personalities, backgrounds and lifestyles. So what was it?
I personally think it was opportunity. Most students that come from other countries or ethnic backgrounds live in generally the same area. They’re not dispersed throughout all the dorms. There’s a room for anyone to hang out in, at the TRIO center, but unless you have homework or need help, most people don’t usually go in there.
I met my friend online. We began chatting and getting to know each other. Which made it easier to meet for the first time in person – just because one can talk and spell easily online doesn’t mean it’s that way in person. After a few language barrier problems and the noise of the bars, I found my friend. My friend is someone who I can talk to about anything. Someone who doesn’t mind if I ask a dumb question about their country, because they can do it about my country.
My only regret is that it took me four years to find a friend like this. Someone who can give me more than the United States. Someone who can expand my mind and show me what is really out there. Someone who can call me a friend … in two languages.
SDSU helped me expand my horizons. Has it expanded yours? Don’t let your first year at school be boxed in a shell of “getting to know SDSU.” Because that is how you will stay for four years. And don’t leave school without expanding your mind. It’s hard to make a judgment about something or someone if you have never experienced it.
So expand your minds, your life and your hearts. You might be surprised by what you find.
#1.884254:340998890.jpg:Marthaler, Kristin.jpg:Kristin Marthaler, Beyond the Babble: