The course in “Human Identity and Relationships” has been the most fascinating for me since it really helped me to know much about me, my surroundings, people I have been meeting and relating to during my past life and most of all about friends, students, class fellows, teachers and other staff here during my studies in this new country United States of America. Here are some of my reflections that I would like to put forward about the course and its impact on my life.
The first thing that I would like to share is about the social ties to family and friends that I have experienced here. This course let me think about what sort of social ties do people in this culture have and what are their differences with the social system that I have been in for the whole previous life. I have seen that people in my culture carry strong social ties with family and friends. While those here in USA are mostly at their own. Everybody has the responsibility to take his or her own responsibility. When I came here, I felt too much lonely due to this factor. When I tried to make friends and mix up with people from this culture, I came to know that there is a big difference in meaning of words between my culture and the culture of people here. So in the next section, I would like to talk about the real and implied meanings of things we say in our daily life.
This course made me think about how people in different cultures differ in meanings of words they use. For example, in my country we take implied meanings of many words. When we say something, the other person not only need to listen to the words but also has to see the non-verbal gestures that we communicate with the words. However, people in this culture (USA) mean what they say. Which means that they use real meanings of the words while we always use implied meanings.
When I related the learnt concepts to what I noticed around here, I could really understand the individual to individual differences defined by individuals’ own definitions and perceptions about things, then group differences based on our set of cultural values and beliefs that differentiate us into countries and cultural groups, and then I could find things that are really common among multiple cultures which can be classified as commonalities and are referred to as common humanity.
Overall this course was really beneficial to me in understanding many things and also to make others understand many things about me and my culture. I felt that some of people here think stereotypically about Muslims of the world as all being terrorists and bad. When I met them and we discussed things, and we shared our thoughts about how I think about things, and how I feel about humans around the world, I saw that most of them had a shift in the way they thought about us. Similarly, majority of people around my region had different stereotypic comments about people from USA. But again when I came here and observed people, I came to know that they were mere misconceptions.
I really loved to hear this quote by Audre Lorde, “It’s not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.” Now I always try to recognize my differences with people from other cultures, to accept that these are the differences based on our individual cultures and not because of someone is bad or good, weaker or stronger, new or old, and then I love to celebrate the beauty of these differences.
Overall, this course has help me renew my thinking about myself, my friends, family, the new people I meet every day and even any stranger that I pass by. I am thankful to the instructor for putting me into such an effective environment during this course and making me understand and know the many unknowns of my life a