Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Taking a tractor ride up a mountain to a barbecue is not a usual occurrence in America. This, along with other new endeavors has reiterated how truly different cultures are. This past weekend we were in the countryside of Zagreb, Croatia and it was the first time we got to experience the locals in a social setting. Not only were we invited to eat dinner with them, they also accompanied us to Split for the next two days.
Even though I was trying my best to immerse myself into Croatia’s environment, I couldn’t help but feel slightly out of my element. I found the locals intimidating due to their obvious comfort with the setting and lifestyle. It was not until the very end of the weekend that I realized how similar we actually are.
After bonding over our frustration of a late bus, I got into conversation with a Croatian girl named Kristina Baticeli. She possessed European features: dark hair, a petite frame, and big brown eyes. Even though she had a youthful round face, she inhibited an apparent maturity. I was surprised to discover that she was actually one year younger than I am and a student herself. She told me about her college experience at The Journalism Faculty in Zagreb. Being in Mass Communication, the two of compared our career aspirations of working in the media. Even though she is in a five-year program and still has a couple years left, she expressed her fear of finding a job after school (to which I can relate). We discussed life at a university from dining halls to classes in which I concluded that we had extremely similar college experiences.
It was great to be able to connect with different cultures. I have decided to make a vow for the rest of my travels: to not hold back from striking up a conversation because we are not that different after all.