“People seek good.” It’s a simple three worded sentence. However, holds so much meaning. It is these three words that changed my perspective on life and the human person. I’ve realized that the human person is indeed and naturally seeking the well being of others around him. I feel that I’ve become more open minded and that I respect people more because they have dignity. Something that is inalienable, intrinsic, and inviolable. All of which I’ve learned from my experience here at the WYA ISC.
Firstly, just meeting the people here changed my perspective and view on different cultures. I mean seeing people from a different culture on TV is one thing, but actually getting to know them, eat the same food, interacting in different sports together, or even sharing the same bathroom is just a whole different experience. It is when I actually talked to them, had heart to heart conversations and told each other jokes..That’s when I realized that we are all the same. I know I might sound cliché, but just think about it. Literally THINK about it for a second and you’ll see what I mean.
Someone I’d never forget is my roommate, jack. He’s an American Christian from Maryland. At first I thought it was going to be a bit awkward, being an Arab Muslim myself I thought “how can it not be a bit awkward?” however as I talked to jack and spent more time with him and found out his hobbies, interests and such, I realized that we are more alike than I thought. I mean, I might not have a huge celebrity crush on Taylor Swift, but we are more or less the same. We formed a “subject-subject” relationship. We both have dignity and each of us respected it. Soon enough Jack would ask me about my culture and religion and he’d see that we were a lot alike. He’d watch me pray five times a day, and I’d go to Church with him on Sundays. The point is, we set the boundaries that society has made aside and saw each other as human beings.
I’ve also had the privilege to meet a couple of girls from Mexico and a Danish girl. I’ve always had this stereotype that Mexican people speak very fast Spanish… and I was right. However they turned out to be a bit different than what I expected. They’re very friendly people, always smiling. And I learnt a few Spanish words here and there.
The Danish girl, Ida, was a person I’d never thought I’d meet. First of all us Arabs have very little knowledge of Denmark. I didn’t even know where Denmark was on the map! However, after talking to Ida and after her telling me all about Denmark I saw the cultural similarities.
I believe that no matter where you’re from, what color you might be, whatever culture and ethnics you behold, there is a unique bond, some kind of spark, that unifies us. I believe that this summer camp has really opened my mind and has made us get over the walls that our societies have built to separate us.
Youssef Madbouly is an International Summer Camp participant and a WYA Middle East member from Egypt