I was raised in Chambersburg, PA, a small town with very limited religious and ethnic diversity. I grew up as a minority belonging to one of the only Pakistani and Muslim households in my town with an even smaller Middle Eastern community. Where I was raised definitely could be a barrier to understanding what life is really like in the Middle East, however, I think it is important to come to your own conclusions from your own knowledge and experiences. Life in the Middle East is not as drastically different from the United States as sometimes is depicted in the media. To understand one’s culture it is important to put an effort towards learning what are the some of the customs and norms for a specific place and understanding that there are very few universal principles that can encompass an entire region of the world since the Middle East is a very diverse place with different cultures and languages. What has helped me overcome these barriers has been learning a language which is commonly spoken, Arabic, and traveling.Traveling has been helpful in learning about the Middle East and understanding that not all countries in the Middle East are the same. For example, there was a stark contrast between the time I spent in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, but that could also be true for someone traveling to different places within the United States.