Thursday, February 3, 2011

That's it

All right...listen up, every last American to whom I have spoken about this. Most recently, to my boss.

I am really sick and tired of you all ragging me about having spent time in Canada, and having fallen in love with the country.

Trust me, I know exactly what's going to come out of your mouth before you even speak. "It's no different from our country." "Yeah...did you learn how to speak Canadian?" "Canada, eh?" "Oh, you mean America's hat!" "Studying abroad in Canada is kind of like studying abroad in Minneapolis." "Did you spend a lot of time with the moose up there?" You're not clever, and I've heard it before.

Don't you see? That's the problem--American arrogance. Plain and simple. Just because a country's cultures are similar to those found within our country (though let's be honest, how many Quebecois, Acadians, or Inuktitut-speaking peoples have you seen wandering around the United States?), it must be a lesser version of what we have. And we eclipse it, of course, so that makes it less valuable.

I could launch into the umpteenth version of my explanation for having gone to Mount Allison, and why Canada is NOT America Lite, but you know what? I'm not going to bother, because you're not going to listen to me, and you don't care. My words and intellect are wasted on you.

Just because I couldn't afford to jet across the globe and immerse myself in some strange, more "exotic" culture does NOT mean that my experience was lesser than yours. To put it into further perspective for you, pretty much anyone who can get into American University can get accepted into an AU Abroad program. But not everyone who gets into American University can win a $10,000 national scholarship to visit our closest neighbor and ally, with a different mindset, a slightly different way of thinking, beautiful, unknown lands, and a diverse landscape of cultures and histories. This doesn't mean AU Abroad programs are worth any less, obviously, but I'm saying that there's merit to ANY sort of travel.

Yes, I WILL travel geographically further in my life, and with the added benefit of knowing a country that many Americans don't--which, let me clue you in, is one of the biggest hallmarks of our country's extreme arrogance. Especially to Canadians.

I don't devalue your experiences. Don't devalue mine.

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