Lenses

Michaela Kobsa-Mark


September 26, 2010

A fundamental part of traveling is the breaking down of stereotypes. In six days, that process will begin.

My junior year in high school, we were reading Wuthering Heights, and my English teacher taught me to look at texts through different lenses. Reading a passage from a feminist viewpoint offered such a different analysis than reading it from a religious perspective did. When I arrive in Dakar, in eight days, my own lens will skew what I see. How can I help but be biased? How will my bias change over time?

What is my current bias? It’s a culmination of all my experiences and how I have reacted to them. It would be in both of our interests if I condensed this. . I was born in Konstanz, Germany and I have lived half my life in that country. The other half I spent living in the United States. Most recently, I lived in Irvine, California, the largest planned community in the world and also the three-times safest city in the country, according to the FBI. I have also visited nineteen countries, but this was when I was much younger and more focused on the gelatos and playgrounds than each country’s unique history. That aside, the constant knowledge that my utopian suburb was not a realistic representation of the rest of the world created in me a frustration to expand my cultural knowledge. Backlash is a major catalyst in my life.  I have spent the greater part of my teenage years wishing I was taller, thinner, smarter, and more popular. Now, I push these thoughts away and I avidly work on being more open-minded, knowledgeable, mature, and analytical.   One of the best ways I can improve myself in these ways is to form strong relationships with people. Through different mediums, such as film, blogging, and photography I aspire to turn the relationships that I will form- with the culture, people and the land- into something concrete that I can share with you. Read on! And please comment!

Michaela Kobsa-Mark