QES Blog Spotlight - Differences to adopt

Author: Avryl Brophy

During the month of November, the Education Abroad Office is featuring blog posts that have been written by VIU’s Queen Elizabeth Scholars (QES) who were recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarship. This opportunity allows participants to actively engage, both academically and practically, in deeply linked issues relating to coastal resilience. Leadership and community engagement are woven throughout the project and students have unparalleled opportunities to connect with career-enhancing project opportunities. All scholar activities reinforce the importance of reaching the ultimate outcome of a strengthened global community of young leaders from across Canada and partner countries. Applications are now being accepted until Wednesday, November 28 for VIU undergraduate and graduate students looking to pursue an international internship. Apply now!

Lifestyles throughout the world vary in many ways. We all have different habits, which make up our country’s customs and cultures. Some you may like, admire and want to adopt and others you may not fancy, but all together these differences are what make individual places and cultures special. This summer I travelled to Grenada in the Caribbean for three months and I noticed many notable differences with some standing out more than others.

The first notable difference was a strong sense of community. Grenadian’s stick together and always lend a hand. Most families live under one roof or beside each other and the majority of the people grow and trade their own food within their village. There was a feeling of welcome the entire time I was in Grenada and every person I passed said hello, waved, or stopped and talked with me. The island makes you feel like you are part of the community and welcome in their country.

The second notable difference I noticed was how much simpler most people’s homes were in Grenada. Everything must be imported in Grenada, making goods very expensive.  With a high unemployment rate and a very low minimum wage, most things are not affordable. This seems to contribute to creating a much simpler lifestyle with minimal materialism. North Americans seem to have an overwhelming amount of unnecessary excess in our homes. Most people in Grenada only have what they need and their lifestyle are very simple and minimal. In many ways I found it very valuable to have less. Less to worry about, less to care for, less to spend money on. When I came home I decided to donate a bunch of items I don’t use often and it was a freeing experience!

The last notable difference was less waste. In North America we tend to waste a lot. Garbage all around the world is a huge issue, however, North America is one of the worst offenders due fast food containers and other cheap and single use plastics. Also, since more is available and less expensive here, it’s easier to disregard items without much thought - with the ability in a sense to be pickier.  We may disregard something more easily because it looks weird, or it’s dirty, when it is still perfectly good. I found Grenada to be a very clean country and there was a lot of recycling and repurposing of bottles and plastic.

            Everywhere we go there are notable differences; some we may perceive as good and others bad depending on our own world view, which is always evolving as we are exposed to new and different realities. These difference make up our culture and who we are as an individual and even country. I believe that the more we get to travel and learn or see something new, the more rounded as a person we become. So with that, we all have another excuse to travel and explore the world.  Where will you go next?

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