Some Lessons are Universal

I have an array of professors this semester while studying abroad in Barcelona. I have a professor originally from America, one from Germany, another from Spain, and another from England. All of my classes abroad deal with journalism (my major) or culture (my minor). However, I expected that learning from such a diverse group of teachers would lead to differences in not only teaching style but would lead to opposing opinions about controversial content. However, I'm noticing that a lot of what I am discussing abroad parallels the teachings of my professors at IU. For instances, at the IU school of journalism we talk a lot about ethics--how to spot an ethical dilemma, how to suspend judgment, and how to make an ethically-sound decision. Every culture has the same understanding and the same options when it comes to making an ethical decision; no matter if it is regarding Photoshop, paying for sources, or displaying personal grief. The only difference is in the choice that each culture, each individual makes regarding these questions. What is acceptable is not universal but the options are all the same; do what is "right" or what is "wrong." 

Culture is tricky and having this opportunity abroad is allowing me to learn a lot about my own culture. Like my professor says, trying to explain culture to a person of that particular culture is like trying to explain water to a fish. At home and at school I am so immersed in my daily routine that I often forget that there is a world beyond the 812 area code. However, I am also realizing that I am extremely lucky to be at a university that prides itself on diversity and exposes its students to culture simply by admitting such a mixture of students. My patience, tolerance, and non-judgmental attitude can be attributed to my upbringing and my exposure to diversity at IU.

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