How did I become more tolerant and more open mind? How this thing happened? How these things can happen to you too?
Two year ago I took a decision which changed my life. I signed up for a volunteering stage abroad. I had absolutely no clue what I am going to do there or how the things are going to sort out. And yet, I pushed myself towards unknown, towards uncertainty. Why did I do that? Just because I wanted to do something different for myself. I wanted to start a change in me. This is how my journey in the volunteering field started and this was the first step towards being a different me, a better me.
I am not going to tell you what I was working during my volunteering stage or how I was doing my job. That’s a story for some other time. Instead I will tell you with whom I was working and what kind of relationship I developed with those people.
I can say that somehow I was bombarded with new cultures and personalities in the place I was living and working. We were always more than twenty people from four continents. At the beginning it was a curiosity and lots of questions. How is it in your country? Do you have this or that?
You can imagine that it was not easy for an ordinary me, who I barely met some Englishmen and some Frenchmen and suddenly to be forced in cohabiting with people of different skin color, different sexual orientation or different beliefs. The easiest part was with religion. Even though I was baptized I do not follow orthodoxism so I was not really bothered by the fact that around me were Catholics, Muslims, Buddhists, Hebrews or Atheists. As long as no one tries to convert me to their religion I do not have a problem with theirs and I do not try to convince them of anything. Also I try to not interfere with their beliefs and practices. With appearance on the other hand was not that easy. I found it hard to not stare at people… but my curiosity made me push boundaries so soon I noticed that things are not so different, that there is nothing abnormal. They say that men can get used with anything if there is enough time.
So, more exactly how did I get more tolerant? Well, I can say in thPut yourself in situations where interacting with people from other cultures is an everyday thing. If you cannot avoid meeting different people, you will soon adapt to it.
2. Let your curiosity free; but of course without stepping into private areas or without making offending comments. Most of the people like to share things about their culture and community.
3. Revise your attitudes and accept that there are differences. After all, we are seven billion people on this planet so we cannot be the same.
What will you get in exchange? For sure you will make a difference, you are one more person who does not see religion, skin color, sexual orientation or tradition as a factor which interferes in relations between human beings.
Moreover, you’ll expand the network of people you know, you’ll increase the number of friends and you’ll have better chances in finding best friends or even the love of your life.
What will you have to pay for all these? You just need to toss away all your prejudices and to embrace the fact that there are differences and our purpose in the World is not make everyone be or act identical.
What did I personally gain from this? I got friends. I can say that I have many more friends which are foreigners than Romanian ones.
But more about international friends I am going to tell you with another chance.