As our Fulbright-MTP participants make their way to Portland for tomorrow’s launch of the MTP 2014 journey, they reflect on their Fulbright experience thus far, what they believe are the most pressing issues facing global Millennials today and how their Fulbright-MTP project is a vehicle for enhancing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries.
In the words of Katie Nikolaeva, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Russia:
Inequalities in the standard of living around the world makes people look for better places to live, thus creating immigration issues, which become more and more acute, especially for the developed countries. While governments are struggling to solve immigration problems, the cultural and religious differences contribute to the outburst of ethnic conflicts. These conflicts constitute a big challenge for the modern society, while people slowly learn not to resist, but tolerate ‘foreign’ cultures.
I study international economics at Brandeis International Business School, where students from over 50 different countries represent nearly all of the world’s major cultures and languages. Brandeis is my first experience in communicating with so many international people at the same time.
The most striking thing is that even though all these students have various opinions and thus contribute to the development of social diversity and open-mindedness, all of them (representing their own countries) also have similar problems: ethnic conflicts, economic growth issues, international trade barriers, poverty (which is an issue in any country in the world, no matter how developed the country), religious conflicts, political instability, environmental problems, and so on and so forth.
One of the most pivotal moments of my Fulbright experience at Brandeis was when I saw a Russian girl dancing the Afghan national dance with her classmates from Afghanistan at the Global Gala (the annual concert we have at school), and nobody raised a question on the harsh relationships between these two countries, because you will always be tolerant to your friends, no matter which country, culture or religion they represent.
After my first year as a Fulbright scholar at an American university, I can say that in today’s world with plenty of wars and conflicts, people from different countries and cultures SHOULD get together in order to discuss the current problems and listen to each other’s opinions. Thus, the society would benefit from the resulting range of viewpoints and experiences.