First International Meeting: Similarities and Contrasts

The first Zoom meeting with our colleagues from the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, allowed us to have a space for conversation to learn about the similarities and differences between our countries, cultures and even cities. In my case, I had the opportunity to speak with three colleagues who are from the United States and a colleague from Kashmir, Pakistan. I can say that I had the privilege of having a very diverse group, since I am from Bogotá, Colombia we were able to have a very interesting conversation about three very different cultures and countries.

First of all, I was able to notice that despite the fact that Pakistan/UAE and Colombia are completely different countries, we share many similarities when it comes to our development in the educational field. For both, English is a determining factor in order to have better access to education and, in a way, increase our knowledge about our globalized world. It was interesting to find this detail since it allowed a debate in which the predominance of the English language in the world was evidenced, seeing how knowledge and the social, political and educational organization develops around this language.

However, I think our conversation was based more on the differences we found between the three countries. In the first place, I was able to notice that the United States has a very similar culture despite the differences that may exist between people given the state to which they belong, their geographical location, their climate and etc. Nevertheless, something that caught my attention is how American culture develops around holidays, seasons, and important events that unite the entire country with its characteristic of their patriotism, which I admire. Likewise, my partner from Pakistan, even though she now lives in the UAE, has a very strong sense of belonging to her country and culture. She told us that she tried to keep her traditions and culture alive with her family, which I find very admirable because it shows respect and desire to maintain her roots regardless of their location. This is more than a demonstration of the diverse world in which we live.

To conclude, I can say that this conversation was very interesting since it allowed me to enter unknown cultures. It also allowed me to talk about my country and the traditions we have that make up part of who I am today. Looking for similarities and differences between the countries was enriching since I was able to show how areas such as education can vary depending on them; being the clear example of the importance of English in countries like Colombia and the UAE, while in the United States they do not have this. In the same way, this conversation allowed us to analyze and understand the predominance that the United States has in the international system and, like other countries, we focused on being able to follow this country as an example and a cultural, educational, political hegemon and more.

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