Community Partners

Khan: New understanding


In this post Khan Sher writes “I believe new understanding has been generated through friendships I have created on this program.” He then makes a great case for how experiencing a new culture makes us people who better understand each other. This is one of the Northwest Community College Initiative’s program goals, but we couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Khan is a student from Pakistan who studied business at Whatcom Community College in 2014-15.

Everybody wants to experience and observe something new. I am no different, and following my desire for learning and a bit of adventure, I looked into places I could go and experiences I could have to learn and grow. My search brought me to the U.S. In addition to seeing a new country and culture, I wanted to improve my academic and professional skills in my field of interest. Later, I realized my goals were too limited because I have found myself in many different learning environments.

The United States is the land of opportunity. I really like being able to learn about other people’s culture and heritage. I have friends who are from different parts of the world and have different cultures. “We are all living in cultures with different norms,” Heppner said. “Culture affects human behavior. The more we learn and understand about other cultures, the better teachers, mentors, scholars and therapists we can be. Ultimately, understanding different cultures makes us better people.” I got the knowledge about others’ way of living which enabled me to compare my culture with their culture. The purpose was to share and get new ideas through which I could gain benefits and understand people very well.

Besides, each individual has stereotypes about other countries and people; therefore, it is not possible to project the good image until you can share your ideas and thoughts. I have new friends from different parts of the world and they shared with me about their thoughts and ideas regarding my country. I also shared my thinking and we figured out that we had a really bad misunderstanding about the people of both sides. I am always pleased to answer when someone asks me about anything since it gives me the opportunity to let them know the relevant facts. Now we have a different concept and that is a positive thing since we understand each other. Better understanding at the person-to-person level leads to better relationships and can lead to greater understanding at a national political level. I believe new understanding has been generated through friendships I have created on this program. It is an example of the value and power of relationships and open dialogue.

Another thing that inspired me in the US is time management. The way Americans manage their time and schedule is quite effective. I heard this saying when I was in Pakistan, “Time is money,” but here I observed it first-hand. I am pleased that I am getting familiar with this way of operating in business as I am more consistently on time now. Before that I really had a couple of “close calls” because of being a bit too relaxed about time or a deadline. One time during winter quarter I submitted my online course assignment at the very last moment, just 20 seconds before it was due. I was fortunate enough that it was not late otherwise I would have lost some precious points. This all happened because of my poor time management skills.

I noticed how much stress that situation and others like it created for me so I adjusted and now I am much more punctual. The skill of effective time management will help me especially at my workplace when I return home. For instance, it will help me to prioritize my work by which I can list the things and give importance to the required tasks. Plus, by prioritizing and scheduling my work I can determine the amount and time will be required for the work that needs to be managed.

To sum it up, I am fortunate to live in this wonderful country, America. Although my stay is coming to a close I am pleased with all that I’ve learned, experienced and the wonderful people I have met during my stay in the USA. I know that I will carry with me the new relationships and learning I have gained long into my future, both personally and professionally.

The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The opinions expressed in this blog by writers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Northwest Community College Initiative program, Edmonds Community College, Whatcom Community College, Pierce College, the United States Department of State or any employee thereof. NWCCI and Edmonds Community College are not responsible for the accuracy of the information supplied by student bloggers.

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