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Staff Sound-Off: Meaningful Cultural Experiences

We asked our staff, “What meaningful experiences have you had with another culture while traveling?” See what interactions have left an impression on us in this month’s Staff Sound-Off.

I have developed quite an appreciation for the ethereal beauty of the Muslim calls to prayer. As a Christian, I have little real understanding about these melodic prayers that are broadcast across cities, but in several trips to places like Jordan and Egypt, I have always been captivated by them. Typically, I hear morning prayers around dawn while I’m still in bed and evening prayers near sunset while I am out somewhere in a city.

— Mac Lacy, Publisher

My parents lived in Korea and Japan for two years each while I was in college. I was fortunate to be able to go visit them during the summers and at Christmas and meet many of my mother’s college-aged students that she taught English to. Many of them gave me tours around Seoul or Tokyo so I could see their favorite attractions, learn about their culture, try new cuisines and, of course, let them practice their English skills with me. I have traveled all over the world, but to this day, my most fond travel memories are of these experiences with her students. They were the kindest people and offered me local experiences I would never have as an average tourist. 

— Kelly Tyner, VP, Sales & Marketing

In Greece, on the island of Ikaria, the locals didn’t have a lot of money, and they were all farmers. The group I was with went to a party they have almost every week, and they were all so happy. It didn’t seem to matter how much money they made.

— Kyle Anderson, Director of Advertising Sales

My family and I spent the holidays in Chicago a few years ago. What I came to realize is that while Chicago is one of the most diverse cities in the United States, it is also one of the most segregated — distinct neighborhood microcosms of varying cultures. So, unfortunately, I realized that diversity does not equate with inclusion.

— Caroline Davis, Sales & Marketing Executive Assistant

I spent a semester in Mexico in college and lived with a host family. They were among the kindest, most generous people I have ever met. They took me everywhere with them — to weddings, baptisms, parties and holiday celebrations. I got to experience Mexican culture in a way most tourists never do and grew a deep love for the country and its people. I got to visit them a couple more times when my travels took me back to Mexico. And if I ever get the opportunity to see them again, I’ll jump at the chance.

— Brian Jewell, VP & Executive Editor

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