When I set foot at Washington Dulles International Airport, USA, I realized that my cultural behavior will never be the same again. The first thing I encountered is how you line up to get to the Immigration Officer. The lining is systematically arranged compared to my African setup which is totally different. Human beings here in the U.S. have got rules to follow when it come to public utility and more so, rule of law is highly respected in this part of the world. And that is the reason why there is respect to public office terms limit. Not like in my world where public officials takes their offices like their own.
In my country, South Sudan, people have got more friendly greetings, compare to the United States where you only greet by waving of hands or distance hands shake. People in my country greet by coming closer and embrace each other as sign of peace, love and passion for one another. Here in the U.S., if you do that, that will be harassment and obviously the person will more likely take legal measures against you, if that is your first time to meet her or him. So, be careful when you come to the new country. You first need to observe their way of life, and their cultural beliefs before you are embarrassed .
I went to a store in Charlotte Airport at North Carolina, when I was transiting to Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday September 7th, 2013. In the store, there was a lady in front of me, at about a distant of half a meter. She looked back at me and she said, and I quote; “give me space!”. I was not able to say anything but stepped one meter backward. I realized that this person was more protective of herself. So it is important to keep distance from someone’s privacy. In my world, it is an assault, and in the U.S. it is called invasion of someone’s space. I have really learn a lot of great things here.
I another cultural challenge, is the kind food eaten here compare to the foods we eat back home. My fellow Country’s Atlas Corps Fellow and I, got it quiet challenging; because this was our first time experience. On my case, whenever I eat sandwich, I will always expect that there is going to be main dish somehow after that. But in real sense, that is all you have got. Either during lunch or Dinner.
What I learned out of these cultural differences, is not either this culture or that is bad, but how would you as a leader take these different cultural values into your way of life to shine among billions of people all over the world, in addressing the current world’s enormous challenges in a unified leadership.
With all these cultural differences, and having experienced this diverse cultural setup in the United States, I believe that I am an individual that can fit in any society in the world; because this country, the United States, have got all kinds of people across the world with their distinctive beautiful cultural values. This credibility goes to Atlas Service Corps, the world ever international network of nonprofit leaders and organizations that promotes innovation, cooperation, and solutions to address the world’s 21st century challenges.
I am now, a leader that can look things at all angles and capable to addressing social problems with bold and confidence based on my undergoing experience exchange in the great world of the United States of America.
God bless Republic of South Sudan, God bless the United States, and God bless Atlas Service Corps, and God bless Awesome Team of Leaders of Class 13.