Adopting a New Culture
Bingyu Chen, Jean-Brebeuf Secondary II
¡¡¡¡The first civilisations emerged six thousands years ago. Then, several means of transportation were invented, such as ships and vehicles. These innovations allowed cities to exchange information. In the twentieth century, more and more discoveries in the field of communication caused globalisation. Now, information travels very long distances in only a fraction of a second, thanks to telephones, the Internet, faxes, etc. Unfortunately, influences are everywhere: in newspapers, on television and even on web sites. A major issue arises: how should we react? Do we accept the influences, and adopt a new culture? I believe that this challenge may allow us to learn about other traditions to become more tolerant.
¡¡¡¡Accepting the challenge
¡¡¡¡It takes plenty of courage to accept changing our way of life and facing the unknown. For example, we need to speak a different language, understand a different kind of government, socialize with dissimilar inhabitants and adapt to a new environment (customs, services, etc.). My personal experience with this was immigrating to Canada. I had to surmount several obstacles after I arrived in this gargantuan country. First, I obviously learned French, the most sophisticated language I had ever seen. Then, I moved to a regular class where I met two difficult tasks: catching myself up in all school subjects while adapting myself to the ¡®¡®normal ones.¡¯¡¯ I was really trying not to act too weirdly about eating, speaking, playing and even about walking! Now, I can safely consider myself as 99.99% Canadian. Finally, accepting the challenge caused a real fight. In the end, I gained pride and mostly self-confidence. I possess ample energy to handle future challenges.
¡¡¡¡Learning about other cultures
¡¡¡¡Adopting another culture procures not only the feeling of success, but also precious knowledge. We can discover facts related to a country or a culture in many domains: politics (different parties), culture (tradition, habits and holidays), intellect (math, science) and language (French, English). Let¡¯s continue with my own experience. My first year in Montreal was horrific. I had no friends and it was hard to make new ones because I spoke neither French nor English correctly. I had to concentrate on my French studies. So I could not spend time visiting Montreal¡¯s magnificent scenery. The second year was more relaxing. I understood French more easily; consequently, I was open to my surroundings. The third year appeared enjoyable. After improving in French, I began studying English as a second language. In my free time, television and the Internet were the key tools to let me experience authentic Quebec culture. The last two years were like the cherry on a sundae. Almost trilingual, I profited from the outstanding education system to excel in all subjects while socializing with the entire community. In conclusion, we can acquire unexpected information which will accompany us for life.
¡¡¡¡Improving our tolerance
¡¡¡¡Of course, adopting a new culture can teach us facts and customs. But all these elements try to help us understand the citizens, to be more tolerant. Before discovering a new tradition or a new country, we often have prejudices about its people. For example, before I arrived in Canada, I thought that Canadians were lazy, selfish and they hated the Chinese. However, I realised that they were very friendly and generous. Another example is the two World Wars. Because of Europeans¡¯ pride and prejudices against the other nations, wars began. If only they had tolerated each other, peace would have reigned and millions of soldiers wouldn¡¯t have died for nothing.
¡¡¡¡To conclude, facing a new world really enriches our experience and constitutes an unforgettable challenge. In addition, we become more open-minded. We can correct our previous points of view to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts. Finally, why do we have to remain what we are? The Universe has evolved for trillions of trillions of ¡­ of trillions of years and it is not now that it will stop its process!