With studying abroad comes a realization of how different the world really is. But, what I’ve learned over the course of my study abroad experience so far is this difference isn’t bad or good. It allows you to embrace the differences each country holds, and find the beauty in it. Every country is built on a different history, culture, language, and atmosphere.
How can you compare America and France? The answer is you can’t because they have a completely different culture, language, and history than America. With being just a few short days away with living in Paris for two months there are two main differences I have become aware of and embraced living abroad.
- Secularism in France.
Before studying abroad I knew France was a secular state, but actually witnessing and learning more about its secularism the French are very strict about separating their public vs. private lifestyle. It’s interesting to see because in America there really is no division between the two. For example, a Muslim woman or child is not allowed to wear their hijab in school until college, but in America they are. Another example is individuals who work in government are not allowed to show their religion by wearing a cross for instance. It is interesting to see the secularism of France lead to peace, justice, and strong institutions. This not only holds people in government accountable, but also reduces corruption and how they can build societies that represent its citizens, and works for the people.
- Parisian lifestyle.
The French lifestyle is completely different than the average American lifestyle. The French hold a very strong value of art, history, and culture above everything else. They sit back and enjoy life at every moment. In America there is more emphasis on work and making money. The question I always ask myself is how did these two countries go on completely two different paths of life? I asked my host mom and her response was something like this, “A Parisian enjoys life, and the fresh ingredients in every meal. Life is fleeting and you need to sit back and bask in all its glory, art, and beauty.” In my opinion, I feel like sometimes that’s all forgotten in America.
Over the course of my study abroad experience I have realized why certain things and systems work in different places. I have become more knowledgeable of those differences, and analyzed them to come to the conclusion that France is built on a strong, rich history that cannot be compared to America. There is beauty in the differences between America and France. With globalization, it has allowed global and cultural interrelationships and interdependencies across place and time to build strong, global institutions like the United Nations to work together to enact change. I believe in these international governmental organizations because it allows cultures to come and work together to build peace around the world.
No matter what anyone says, I strongly believe there is beauty in cultural differences because it has allowed complex ideas and solutions come to life to make the world a better place filled with inclusivity and diversity.