Exploring the world of social media

RESPONSE #3: The International Perspective

Being in my masters program at Georgetown has taught me a lot of things. Most of the lessons I’ve learned have taken place inside the classroom. But there are a few that have been learned through interactions with my classmates outside of regularly scheduled class time.

One of the classmates who has taught me more than he probably realizes is Engin Yelken. Engin and I first met in the fall 2009 semester in our Integrated Marketing Communications class. We never worked in a group together, so most of what I knew of him centered around his Turkish and German background, his love for BMWs (particulary the commercial below), and the fact that most students in the class struggled to pronounce his name correctly. (For some reason, the most popular pronunciation was “engine.”)

This semester, Engin and I have been in the same Social Media class, which has allowed us to interact more and become friends.

So what have I learned from Engin? Well, maybe it’s not so much that he taught me a lesson as it is that he prompted a realization. Interacting with Engin made me realize just how limited my international perspective really is. In a recent blog post, Engin wrote about the international student experience and the cultural differences an international student should learn when coming to study in the U.S. His observations about American culture were pretty humorous — mainly because they were so accurate. His blog and my interactions with him and other international students in the program make me realize how little I know about foreign cultures. (With the exception of Jamaica, which I wrote about a few weeks ago).

It’s so easy to stay within our familiar boxes and circles of friends. But realizing how limited my perspective is, I’m motivated to make a more concerted effort to hang out with, and learn from, international students. Just within our program, I can learn more about Brazil, Germany, Turkey, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Kazakhstan (the real Kazakhstan, not the Borat version).Why wouldn’t I take advantage of that?

I’m excited to see what I’ll learn, and I’m confident that a greater international perspective will make me a greater individual.


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