In Chapter 3 of 15 leadership philosopher Bijoy Goswami shares his personal experience in answering what are the benefits of an international upbringing. At its core, it teaches both the diversity of experience and the commonality of experience. B...
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Erik: Based on your experience, what are the benefits of exposing children to international cultures early in their lives? Bijoy: Being a product of an international upbringing, I think the most powerful thing about that is that you see that there’s a big world out there, either of many ways, many paths, many thoughts, many philosophies, and I think you start to do see two things. You see the diversity of the human experience but you see the commonality of that experience. You know, it was always, struck me as weird when I would go home to India from, let’s say, Taiwan or Hong Kong, and people would ask me if I had any Indian friends. That was their context they, you know, India was their context. And I had to sort of sit back and think about it and go ‘yeah, I guess I’ve got three Indian friends’, you know, now that I count that up. So, immediately I noticed that I didn’t see people as Indians, or Chinese, or Americans. I mean I understood those labels and they work, but I saw them as people. I think the other thing it does is it shows you the relative disparities in the world. It’s really important to see that, and then I think you gain a deeper appreciation for wherever you are. I think in America, especially where, you know, this country is so wealthy and so rich, even though of all the challenges we have, we are still one of the leading countries in the world. We have incredible material needs taken care of, and so on, and so forth. So I think seeing that, seeing how people do have to live and how they really exist. it changes one’s perspective. I think a – I was having a conversation the other day and someone was being sort of hypercritical about America, I like to debate at that point because I think America is really special, not necessarily for the reasons that maybe people in politics talk about America being special. And so what I recommended to this person was I said ‘actually go and live somewhere for three months’, you know, and really see what it is like to not be able to say what you wanna say or do what you wanna do, or it takes three months to get service on some problem that you encounter because of whatever government structures and what not. So I think that if you can put that into a kid from an early age, then every – all their development is gonna be colored by this very cool perspective. so by the time they get to be in their, you know, adulthood, I think they’d be – they’d be able to see a much broader picture of the world.

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