Explore the world, you might like what you find.

Explore the world, you might like what you find.         Courtesy of flickr.com

By: Ricardo Montero, Editor-in-Chief.

         Those who have lived in the United States all their lives and have only known the world because of its cultural diversity have begun to question the importance of the rest of the planet. In a country like the United States – so vast, multidimensional, and advanced – can offer a person anything they could ever want or need… except an appealing vision of the rest of the world.

        Even with the great blue passport, with the modernized transport technology available in the U.S., some still hesitate to leave the land of the free. Perhaps those individuals do not recognize the importance of seeing different countries, especially when those cultures can be found within the United States. Perhaps the media and yellow journalism about different countries have inflicted a false idea of danger into  America’s mind, making Americans hesitate going somewhere else.

        The “There is nothing out there for me that I cannot find here” ideology is thought to be formed at a young age. Since few World History classes are required at schools, young students are not as intrigued about the world as they should be; American History, on the other hand, is a requirement for almost 9 years of education. This can and does affect a growing child’s sense of importance about other countries and the student can fail to see the opportunities available outside of the States, all because of ethnocentrism taught by ignorant adults.

        I personally know why it is wise to find opportunities elsewhere. I am a Colombian immigrant who arrived in the United States at eleven years old. I went to public school from seventh to twelfth grade and completed my first semester at Bergen Community College by the age of 17. Then summer came, and I decided to go to Colombia until September 2nd, just to see what kind of person the country of Colombia would now see me as.

After eight years of absence from my homeland, I was practically a tourist in my own country. Upon arriving, the way I was treated was automatically noticeable. Simply for having an American high school degree, I was offered a job as a translator for a prestigious college, with a pay that promptly made me forget what minimum wage meant. Strolling into a college that is only a dream for most Colombians, I spoke with a Dean and was immediately guaranteed a job.

For a while I thought this strange and sudden behavior was a bit pathetic. I did not like being treated better than usual just because I came from the outside; I did not feel worthy of special treatment, especially when I myself am Colombian. Eventually I realized that the treatment was not due to my American residence, but because of my American education. The simple fact that I had an American high school degree made those around me think that I was admirable and worthy of respect.

I, a simple immigrant with average grades in the U.S. was now a respectable man with a prominent future in Colombia. Overall, this experience has made me develop a plan for my future. I will finish my education in the United States and move out of the country, preferably to South America, and take my pick with the avalanche of opportunities that present themselves for a bilingual American graduate. I am Colombian; imagine how well an American-born professional can do by simply having a degree in English.

Even if you do not have a degree or did not graduate, you will do better in other countries, proven by simple math. Given whatever currency is used in your destination, chances are that the dollar is worth more except maybe in Europe. The dollar is worth two Colombian pesos, which means that whatever amount of money you bring with you will automatically be doubled. American minimum wage is more than enough to have a comfortable and stable life elsewhere, and you will not have to worry about struggling to eat.

The United States may not be ranked as one of the top 10 educations in the world, but it surely is appreciated as such in certain countries. Whatever your economic or educational profiles are, you can always try your luck at other countries and gain so much more than simple wealth.

You are a citizen of the United States, but you are also a citizen of the world, and it is up to you to size up to that title.