When I first touch downed to the airport, I lugged my three bags up and down the escalator with the intent to find Rocio and Ian in the purple T-shirts. After my back almost gave up, I finally saw them sitting by the conveyor belt next to a group of humans surrounded by suitcases and duffel bags; I knew I was in the right place. I walked up to introduce myself to the other fellows and heard an array of accents and was told stories of homelands that were nowhere near mine. I’m not sure why I expected everyone to be from Seattle but I was 1 of the 3 Seattleites in a group of 150. I found it so different and informing to speak about ongoing’s and experiences with fellows from around the world. I’ve met people from Senegal, Burkina Faso, Jamaica, Hong Kong, Madagascar, Vanuatu, London, Armenia, Russia, Libya, Germany, Sweden, Costa Rica, Spain, Lithuania, Bosnia, Nigeria, France, El Salvador, Argentina, the Netherlands and others I may not have had a chance to speak with yet. I was reminded in a conversation to be aware that not everyone’s history contained my history. It really was something that challenged my way of thinking and I feel a mass amount of gratitude because of it. Without that piece of information I may have still been existing in my mentality of only thinking about myself. It’s allowed me to place myself just as a human speaking of human experiences, maybe not focus so much on situations that have happened in my country to define me but instead; drafting solutions that will benefit humanity based on emotions and acknowledging that there are so many other experiences that may not fit into the USA box. I think it’s very rare to be surrounded by so many amazing people from so many amazing places; it reminds me that I really want to get to know people from everywhere to understand the deeper connection between all of us then just our history. Some thing I love most about this is I really was unaware of the diversity within the cohorts and I feel so blessed to be able to know more about others that are not from Seattle.
“No culture can live if it attempts to be exclusive” – Mahatma Gandhi