America: the new Constantinople
Published: Monday, September 24, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 24, 2012 13:09
One of the most common questions asked to an international F1-Visa applicant during his or her visa interview is “Why the United States?” While the question may seem fairly complex with no single right answer, almost always the student applicant knows the prefect reason: somewhere in the back of their mind they know they have chosen America as their destination not just because it’s a super power.
What is it exactly that brings hordes of international students to the “land of dreams?” People would often argue that the quality of education and the technological advancements here are the major reason why student come to United States.
But that is not entirely true, as there is often much more advanced technologies in Germany or Australia, or even Japan for that matter.
While these countries do offer you the variety in education, they lack the variety in environment that America has to offer. The diversified culture map of America is what makes it unique. The look of the new United States, which invites about half a million students each year, is heterogeneous and does not have a color.
You could be coming from a small country in eastern Africa and not find yourself alone here. The beauty of this culturally rich environment reminds one of the grandeur of 14th century Constantinople.
Just like the Central Asian city was the education capital around 1200-1400s, American community has come to be recognized as the education hub of the world. The reason Constantinople was famous was because it attracted scholars from every nook and corner of European, Asian and African continents.
It was the only city of its kind that had people transgressing political, racial and social border in the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. The colorful environment that canvassed Constantinople can be mirrored onto the blueprints of the modern American society, where every student is a student first and student only.
The way American society treats its guests in their conquest for treasures of knowledge is something to learn from.
In my interaction with other students coming from different countries, I found that they were not afraid to interact with the society as they felt safe in this “foreign home away from home.”
One of the biggest reasons for this is the great American value of “equality in opportunity” for all. No one person is placed above the other here and each has a fair chance at making it big in the world.
While most students come from countries having a more uniform population or culture, it is not hard for them to get accustomed to the new diversified environment. All credit for this goes to the people in the American society, who accommodate one and all.
The question that arises now is how we, as international students, can benefit from all America has to offer? There is but one true thing to learn from our fellows here -- that is humanity.
We must remember to be humans first and serve each other, and work to foster the peace that America so dedicatedly works to preserve. Besides this, we always have so many things to learn from this “culture broth.”
All these values are the real treasures we must try to take back home so we could make ourselves and our countries proud of our U.S. education.