I am a Global Citizen
BY CAMERON KROETZ
Over the course of my life I have been fortunate enough to have been to 32 states, three provinces, two territories, 36 independent nations, four dependencies, and one principality. Each individual place has left a mark on my being and they have all contributed to the person I have become; we as humans are the products of our experiences and my travels are fundamental experiences in my life. Because of these experiences I am a proud citizen of the world and I have learned how to look at things through different eyes.
People often ask me why I care about what is going on in countries on the other side of the world. The simple answer I give them is that what happens in other places can affect us here at home. The truth is, if I were to give them the real answer it would take much longer. Since I have been exposed to a variety of different cultures starting at a young age, I do not really separate people based on their nationality or culture; I see humans as one people. Even though there are borders with fences and walls, our common sense of humanity should transcend division and I believe that most people would agree with that assessment. This viewpoint is fundamental to who I am and what I believe; it is the reason I take a compassionate and humanistic stance on most issues.
One major aspect of travel is keeping an open mind, and trying new things such as food or maybe even learning a new language. Before I go to a new country I try to familiarize myself with the regional customs and some basic linguistics to make my experience more enjoyable. Opening myself up to other cultures has allowed me to develop a very open mind, a characteristic that is a pillar of who I am as a person and who I strive to be. I believe that If you do not accept other cultures for what they are it will lead to xenophobia, the fear of other cultures and nationalities. I am not suggesting that one should forget their own cultural identity, but what I am saying is that keeping an open mind is very important to personal growth.
Connecting to other people is one of the traits that makes us human. I have spoken to people from the hills of Tennessee, the islands of the Bahamas, and the flatlands of Siberia, and they all have one thing in common: they were interested in how we liked their homelands and just how we were feeling that day. Compassion for other people is the most fundamental characteristic of humanity. I have learned that everyone I meet is human and for the most part they have good intentions. Some people would call my disposition naïve but I call it basic human decency.
My travels have defined who I am, both as a person and as a citizen of the world. They are also the main reason I have decided to major in Political Science with a focus in International Relations; my plan is to get my bachelors degree and then go on to law school to get my J.D. in Foreign Policy Law. It is my hope that I will be able to affect change in the world by sharing my compassion and problem solving ability in the world of diplomacy. The biggest thing I have taken away from traveling is that if one keeps an open mind and recognizes the common humanity that unites us all, the world does not seem such a dark and scary place, but rather a world of hope and potential.