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Cultural understanding; it’s important

Cultural understanding; it’s important

Nov 23, 2016

Growing up in a small town not too far from Lansing, some might wonder how I ever came to be homesick my freshman year at Michigan State University. But everything about the culture was different. I didn’t have my same friends, my classes were 10 times the size they were in high school and I was completely overwhelmed.

About halfway through my first semester, I became friends with a few international students in my journalism classes. They expressed the same feeling of culture shock, except on an escalated scale. Their families were not 20 miles away, the food was completely different and, oh yeah, there was that language barrier.

I grew extremely appreciative of my international friends because they didn’t judge me. They didn’t ask how I could be so homesick. They didn’t laugh when I went home for dinner. They just nodded in understanding because they got me.

This cultural understanding and the barriers these students have to go through every day have opened my mind to international audience viewpoints and messaging.

I think about their needs and which platforms reach the international community best. I listen to their stories and feel like I have become a better storyteller after listening to their inspiring backgrounds. I’ve learned how to apply this storytelling to my work and with our clients.

Giving people, who need a voice in the community a chance to be heard, is something we strive for at Piper & Gold.

The international community has taught me to accept, get to know and understand those who are different than me, which has made me immensely proactive as a public relations professional.

This article was originally published in the Lansing State Journal and the Hubbell Connections blog.

Tags: community, perspective, diversity