Studying other cultures is an integral part of modern education; it is subtly included in almost any program where that is possible. It is generally believed to have a positive influence on the students, and not many people wonder why that would be the case. This paper will analyze the value of learning about other cultures and communities, while also trying to uncover some hidden drawbacks to broadening one’s outlook.
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To Study or Not to Study
The primary upside of learning about other cultures is the preparedness this extensive knowledge gives to the person who possesses it. A traveler might find it quite useful to know the traditions of the community they are about to enter. For example, in a certain hypothetical country, all grocery stores are closed on Sundays because of some belief. This would only be a minor inconvenience unless it comes as a surprise and causes someone to wait until Monday to get food. Although this issue has been largely mitigated by globalization, as popular countries have somewhat adapted their traditions to accommodate tourists from most places in the world, specific knowledge may still help when visiting more obscure locations.
Another argument commonly used to support studying other cultures is improved communication. Knowing what to do and what not to do when meeting members of different communities can be crucial. This can have an effect both for casual discussions and high-level negotiations. If used correctly, basic information on what topics are taboo and what jokes should probably be left untold can significantly increase the chances of a successful dialogue.
However, knowledge of other cultures can have adverse effects as well. While being well informed is excellent from a purely pragmatic standpoint, it can make exploring new places and peoples much less exciting. For some people, not knowing what to expect and the sense of discovery contribute greatly to the joys of traveling. Taking into account that most people are forgiving of foreigners trying to learn their culture, coming unprepared may be a viable option. The same is true for communication, as the lack of knowledge can make the interaction much more genuine, albeit less smooth.
Greeks and Romans
Ancient Romans admired Greek culture very much, so it is not surprising that they based theirs on it. While mostly similar, the two cultures have significant differences in certain areas. Compared to the idealized Greek statues, roman art is more realistic; it shows flaws, providing a more accurate depiction of the subject. The difference between Athens’ relatively peaceful agrarian economy and the Roman militaristic approach to growth is vast. Finally, the Greeks had a true democracy coexisting with a totalitarian regime, while the roman political system was uniform across the country.
My Experience and Conclusion
My personal view of other cultures has changed significantly throughout the course of my education. I used to have an intense fear of the unknown, be nervous in new places, and feel uncomfortable talking to foreigners. Now that I know more about the different peoples populating our planet, I have realized that we are not so different. However, not everyone needs education to conquer their fear, some people would rather explore the world naturally, and there is nothing wrong about that. Even though I am glad that I had the chance to broaden my outlook through studying, I still support the idea that learning about culture should be a choice.