Where I live, where they live

When studying the Middle East and its culture, it can be hard at times to fully grasp and understand the actions and traditions of its inhabitants. Growing up in Appalachia, my home life and upbringing were obviously very different from someone in a place such as Jordan or Syria. This upbringing and varied life experiences will act as a barrier between understandings. We likely will not see eye to eye on the importance and urgency of matters regarding both domestic and foreign policies. For example, a student my age from Riyadh may see access to water as a more pressing issue than I do, or an adult from Baghdad may have a more passionate opinion on the U.S. Invasion of Iraq in 2003. In addition, growing up in a suburban/rural area in America means that my culture and way of life will likely be very alien to someone from anywhere in the Middle East or North Africa. However, in my experience, some of the best ways to overcome these barriers are through personal conversations and friendships. As long as one goes in with an open mind to listen to other and thick skin to not be offended, you can develop a mutual understanding and overcome any barriers.

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