Maturity and Cultural Sensitivity
Age is not a reliable measure of maturity. I’ve met some pretty immature adults, and I’ve met some very mature children. Part of what makes a person mature is experience. One very powerful way to gain experience is through travel. Specifically travel to other cultures, cultures where you have to learn the language, and where you’re unfamiliar with the customs. Experience of foreign lands makes you more flexible in your thinking, and more sensitive to diverse cultures.
English language study in the US was your access to cultural sensitivity. While you were perfecting your English skills, you were also learning to see things and people in a more mature way.
Cultural Sensitivity In The Global Marketplace
Cultural sensitivity is a sought after skill in today’s global marketplace. The world is becoming smaller. Nations trade with each other, and companies have subsidiaries all over the world. Employers are looking to hire people who can operate effectively, and sensitively in this global market.
If being culturally sensitive ONLY benefited your career it would be worthwhile, but cultural sensitivity is a hallmark of maturity, and to paraphrase Aristotle, maturity allows you to determine your own path in life.
Your experience as a study abroad student let you come home and see that travel had a positive influence on your life, and your worldview. You’re able to see things and people in a more mature way—including the people in your everyday life. I remember the first time I thought of my parents as people instead of infallible overlords. They were spectacularly wrong about someone in my life. When I realized it, I had little cartoon puffs of smoke coming out of my ears while I tried to wrap my mind around the fact that people who loved me could be so blind. Maybe your own experience as an ESL student abroad has shown you the blind spots that people in your life have.
Maturity isn’t determined by age, it’s an outgrowth of experience. Now that you’ve returned from studying English in the US, the cultural sensitivity that you’ve gained may make you the most mature person you know.