Young people who study abroad enjoy not only the hospitality of a host family but the immersion in another culture. For those who have welcomed international students into their home, there is also pleasure in vicariously experiencing the world from which these young people come. Some Americans first feel at home with people of other races and ethnic origins when living next door or working alongside them. Observing what’s distinctive in each other opens the possibility for exploring the unique good of differences. Out of such mutual interest in the other evolves growing respect and sometimes longstanding friendships. Diversity and pluralism are catch words today for the richness of inclusion. In place of suspicion and antagonism toward new neighbors, colleagues or classmates, integration can hold promise. If we can get along with, enjoy and appreciate neighbors from other cultures, perhaps we’re seeding the future for peaceful borders everywhere.
By Ruth Feeney, OSB