Tiny planet

By Christopher Blake
October 2, 2008

If you thought the world was small, then you were part correct and part misinformed.

It was small. But the fact of the matter is that the extreme number of communication advancements over the last decade has made this world tiny.

I spent half of my summer in Madrid, Spain where I shared an apartment with a German, a Moroccan, a Trinidadian and a fellow American.

The reason I am telling you this is because I observed that although we were from several different countries, made up of our own unique cultural differences, our overall behaviors on a day-to-day basis were extremely similar.

If you are pondering a deeper meaning, what I was trying to say is that our similarities were remarkably large, ranging from our style of clothes, common interests, even our speech patterns. I felt as if we were all coming from the same origin. This totally boggled my sense of the world.

How could we be from similar descents? We all came from completely different geographical backgrounds.

Communication, specifically the Internet, has decreased the number of cultural differences, creating one global culture.

Perhaps this global culture is not overbearing at this point in time. However, I believe it is important to notice the change.

My study abroad experience in 2008 was completely different than another student’s study abroad experience would have been ten years ago.

Although a time gap of 10 years will always bring about change, the significant amount of alteration is what blows my mind.

I walked into a pizzeria in Ferrara, Italy, expecting to hear Italian music playing only to discover Jack Johnson, a popular American singer/songwriter, was being played.

While at the Louvre, the famous art museum in Paris, I shockingly ran into a Starbucks next to the gift shop.

Every night club I visited in Madrid played small amounts of Spanish music and more and more American music.

And the list goes on.

So maybe not only has the Internet made this world smaller. Maybe American culture has started to take over other cultures.

I am not trying to say that cultures other than American are not in existence anymore. Without a doubt other cultures are out there.

Whether I was watching a bull fight in Spain, eating pintxos or delicious Basque appetizers in San Sebastian, Spain or even feeling totally out of place in the largest city I have ever seen, Paris, the diverse cultures of the world have tocuhed me.

Each of my unique experiences abroad has taught me about other countries and how people from across the world live their lives differently.

If my time abroad taught me anything it would be that the traveling has the most powerful affect on people’s lives.

Each of us should do everything and anything in our power to explore our beautiful world.

The message I want to leave with you with is not one of concern but of understanding.

We have to understand that this world is decreasing.

Not in people but in culture.

Whether or not this is good is up to you.

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Christopher Blake

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