Recently, my GEF class did a unique activity in which we portrayed issues of culture shock, and the ever-so-cliche “judging a book by its cover.” In the activity, several of my classmates went out in the hallway. They were instructed to come into the classroom, where the rest of us remained, and pretend like we were a new country. We were supposed to ignore them when they asked us questions, except if they had certain physical characteristics. I really enjoyed the Outsiders activity. I believe that it is easier than it should be to fall into the trap of judging those that are from other countries. Also, despite the best efforts of many to remain neutral and open-minded to other cultures and views, it is easy to shut oneself off from people that are from different backgrounds and cultures. Moving forward, I plan to remind myself how my classmates felt during the exercise. They were frustrated when it became difficult for them to communicate with others, much like what would happen in the real world. While this exercise did not necessarily change my perspectives or plans, I think that it is an important idea to keep in the back of my mind, both when I’m abroad and in the United States.

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