Taking A College Course For General Education Essay

1338 Words 6 Pages
Each year, becoming more and more important is the necessity for Americans to understand and connect with other cultures and the diverse world that shapes our own lives directly or indirectly. Taking a college course for general education helps to cross a cultural border but is only the first step. No cultures or countries have a monopoly on values such as peace, justice, charity, tolerance, public discussion, and goodwill, something one learns from crossing borders into other cultures and ways of thinking. For a college student the best way to achieve this is to study abroad for at least one semester.

All Americans can greatly benefit from this cultural border-crossing that you experience by studying abroad. Carlos Fuentes, the acclaimed Mexican writer, diplomat, and frequent U.S. resident, wrote a few years ago that what Americans do best is understand themselves; what they do worst is understand any other countries. Americans are good at dissecting our own society–- its strengths and weaknesses-- but too often are poor at figuring out how other peoples think and act. Observers in other countries often perceive Americans as assuming that American cultural norms, political views, and economic expectations are, or should be, universal, and hence believe Americans want to remake the world in our own image rather than trying to understand other cultures on their own terms. Americans have much to be proud of and should vigorously defend values like human rights, freedom…

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