When I was looking for a person to interview, I was trying to decide what kind of person I wanted to compare cultural values to. I decided that I wanted to get the perspective of someone my age, and see how someone from another country perceives the world around us. I had a long discussion with a group partner for one of my class projects, Felicity.
She wanted to make it clear to me that she was not born in Australia. “I was actually born in New Zealand,” she said, “ I moved over here for school about 14 years ago. Don’t tell anyone that though, they make fun of Kiwis here. It’s like Canada to you guys.” It was interesting to me that she knew the way Americans felt about Canadians, and was able to translate it to the Australian and New Zealander relationship.
She quickly decided to ask me about how I felt about Donald Trump being elected into office. We discussed the American political system, where she said, “We were watching all of it from over here. We played very close to your elections and wanted to see who the Americans would choose to lead the Free World.” Hearing that was interesting to me because it varies from the way some Americans look at the world. Americans tend to focus on just our country, while people in Australia have a huge focus on other countries like America to see how those changes will influence the world around them. She was very direct with her questioning, while some people back in the United States may be more hesitant to ask political questions.
Another interesting concept was that of sport in Australia. We are both in a class that focuses on the governance of sport organizations in Australia and around the world. Felicity was surprised at how just about every sport program in the United States was run or funded by a private or corporate figure. She explained that almost every sport here in Australia is funded by the government, whether that be professional teams all the way down to the instructional leagues. They really focus on equality and allowing everyone the chance to play a sport here in Australia; rather than the social rank and being able to afford to play in the United States.
One thing I found interesting is the way Australian children are allowed to be so much more independent compared to students in the United States. Back home, there are some kids who cannot do the most simple of tasks without receiving help from their parents. Here is Australia, when kids finish secondary school they either decide to go to college or they immediately move and find a new job. Everyone here is employed, and they all take pride in the jobs they do. There are some aspects that are similar to Americans however. Many of the students pay for their own apartments, and work long hours at difficult jobs to get through college. Felicity told me that when she is not at class, she is usually working in a local pharmacy to help pay for school.
Part of life back at Quinnipiac that I never wanted to associate with was Greek Life. I never really understood the draw to it, and what members of a fraternity meant when they talked about their “brotherhood”. I feel like I am part of a group that changed the idea that we don’t need to join a traditional fraternity to have a good time. I want to know what about the tradition of a fraternity or sorority draws people in, and what it all means to them. Maybe it will change the way I look at Greek Life. The Guide 9 says, “On the contrary, values, like people, are born. They grow up and sometimes become powerful; sometimes they are pale ideals, honored mainly by the breach. Values grow old. Sometimes they die. Values are not fixed.” (Guide 9 103). I think that the way I view things can “die” and new ways of looking at things can be born again.
Study Abroad Learning Guide. Page 103