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Countries and Territories I Have Personally Visited
Often talked about, yet how much is cross-cultural competence really understood? In the most simple terms that I can share, meeting people around the world has taught me that we all pretty much care about the same things. Our family and our homes matter. Religious and social beliefs vary and that is who we are and how we identify. Let's get to know each other!
Rarotonga (Cook Islands)
Islands - US
Islands - British
I visited the Soviet Union in the 80’s. When the plane landed in Moscow, it did not pull up to the terminal. It was a few hundred feet away, under very bright lights, and promptly surrounded by soldiers – no guns. We proceeded on foot into the building and processing lines where you were interviewed – not unlike what we might do to USA visitors.
We had access (restricted) to meet university educators, students and locals (visited Moscow, Volgograd and Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg)). No photo taking from airport to hotel – or anywhere at the airport. Visually, hi-rise apartment buildings everywhere, with shanties along the way – a newlywed couple could expect to wait 5 years or more for their own small 1 bdrm apartment. A year’s wages to buy a full-length leather coat – if you could get one. Beautiful tour guide – Irena.
GUM (Red Square) stock was sparse and drab – ladies showing up wearing the same dress style and color was the norm, not unexpected. Everyone worked but you were told what you would become by test or need – or party connection. A “job” could be sitting on a stool - in a museum – watching visitors – all day – every day. Or you could be lead engineer at a damn project or a doctor – but you were not paid much in any case and must always maintain political favor. There was little incentive to excel other than for Mother Russia, The Party – or survival. Students were brainwashed – the brave would ask questions – carefully. I was offered cash for the jeans I was wearing (a crime if you dare). The list goes on. Americans were treading dangerous waters.
You were given a temporary ID card. If you wandered and realized you were lost, you were required to show the card to any citizen – and they were required to get you back to your assigned hotel. You were treated with absolute respect as was your home country. Your nation’s flag was on the dinner table each night. You did not discuss anything of relevance in the privacy of your room – or anywhere else. Yet I spoke my mind when answering the student’s questions - and enjoyed watching the expressions on the faces of faculty as I did (I am certain the students were privately informed of my misdirected capitalistic views later that day). I would not have missed the opportunity of a lifetime.