08 Jan Worldschooling & Ethics -Respectful Cultural Immersion
It is an honor and not a burden to visit and experience a foreign culture, and we should remember that at all times. We are not there to change their beliefs, nor are we there to shame. Instead, we will learn from our differences.
Respectful Cultural Immersion
Every individual, culture, community and collective bases their ethics upon a set of moral codes. As we travel, we are invited to examine our own ethics and consider other code of ethics belonging to people in other lands. As worldschoolers, we must never take these similarities or differences for granted.
There are so many reasons why addressing ethics is important to the worldschooling movement. The movement is growing and, by virtue of traveling, we do leave a mark in the countries we visit, even if it’s just an impression in the mind of a person in our host country. Therefore it’s vital we approach worldschooling with ethics in mind, and always make ethical choices.
If you are approaching worldschooling with the intent to go to a place, change the people and shame them based on their cultural practices and traditions that do not align with your own, you are not worldschooling.
As guests in a foreign country, we can still act upon our own individual morals or ethics, but cannot expect others to have the same perspectives. While making a decision in a foreign country, especially one that may affect others, we must, as worldschoolers, take into consideration their set of morals, ethics and values as the dominant and more important code
Every individual and family collective has its own personal morals and ethics, and sometimes those morals and ethics equate activism. For example, a vegetarian family may be animal rights activists in their own country. Or a family with a gay, lesbian, trans or non binary conforming child may be an equality activist in their home country. Or maybe you or your family are politically leaning identifying strongly with a specific political party affiliation and that is your form of activism. (There are countless other examples, of course, but that gives you an idea.) As we dig deeper into the ethics of worldschooling, we’ll also learn how to identify our own specific worldviews. Each of the values, morals and positions we hold add a piece to create our own unique worldview.
It is not your right as a worldschooler to shame a tradition because they do not align with your convictions. Equally, you can use your morals, stances and convictions as a way to make ethical worldschooling choices for you and your family.
Sometimes as activists, we need to leave our activism back in our home country but use the morals that guide our activism as a sign post to promote connection through discussion with others who have a different worldview. For example, as an animal rights activist and vegetarian, you may have to suspend those convictions for a while while learning about the traditions of consuming guinea pigs in Peru, a centuries old tradition filled with honor and respect.
As worldschoolers, our job is not to change the world, even if, as activists, that may be our purpose.
As worldschoolers, our job is to engage with the world around us, learn, exchange and connect. As worldschoolers, change can happen on a personal and individual level, through internal development, sparked through compassion and empathy, made possible through connecting, understanding and a willingness to be open.
Cultural immersion helps us put our own lives in perspective and creates more compassionate individuals, something that is essential to the world we live in today. Traveling to new countries and immersing yourself in other cultures helps shape a more rounded understanding of humanity, and it also helps with the breaking down of stereotypes.
Through cultural immersion, we discover that our own societal values, norms and worldviews are just a tiny glimpse into the global diversity that exists, and gives us the opportunity to observe the different ways humans choose to live their lives contrasts dramatically across the globe.
Cultural immersion is a unique experience, that can open doors to a deeper understanding of an unfamiliar place. You’re never going to know a place as intimately as the people who live there, but through cultural immersion experiences, you can begin to understand it all a little better.
There is no arguing that as travelers, we leave a mark on the places we visit. It’s our responsibility to make sure that that impact is a positive one. It is our responsibility to be conscious and aware of what impact we’re leaving behind from a physical, environmental and social perspective.
As worldschoolers, it is our responsibility to be kind, open, and grateful for our experiences.