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A Manner of Speaking Jan/Feb '99

by Bonnie Neugebauer
January/February 1999
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/a-manner-of-speaking/5012504/

When we talk about cultural diversity, we are often focused on what we can learn about others; but equally important is what we can learn about ourselves. It's frequently a surprise to discover how others see us, and more times than we might wish, an unpleasant revelation (we might wonder why this is so . . .).

With two daughters traveling the globe and two sons just itching to go, I am sensitive to how Americans are responded to, thought of, and treated in other parts of the world. So when Roger and I met a young woman in Maastricht, The Netherlands, who had lived in Chicago, I was eager to hear her story. She had studied at the University of Chicago, and enjoyed the experience, but, offered opportunities to live in America for a time, she chose to come home. "I could never LIVE in the United States," she shared.

Curiosity bubbled, so I asked, "Why not?"

"Well, and I'm going to be perfectly honest with you, I like Americans and everything. And I enjoyed going to school in Chicago. But there are some things about Americans that I just couldn't live with."

"An example?"

"Okay, if I say, 'Next week I'll call you ...

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