“To learn the culture of other nations, we need first to love our own”, This was my final remarks at the end of my speech during the 48th NATIONAL RIZAL YOUTH LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE CONFERENCE-National Extemporaneous Speaking Contest held last December 16, 2010. During that contest, we were asked to discuss about our rich and diverse culture and how it affects the history of our nation. Culture (Kultura in Filipino and văn hóa in Vietnamese) in my own words, I think that this our way of life. These are the beliefs and traditions of a certain group of people that has been passed from generations to generations. This is the thing that separates us from the rest of the world - our colorful and lively culture that makes us unique. This includes traditions, language, arts, etc. which are found in museums, churches and galleries, found within the heart of the key cities.
Most countries have their own identifying characteristics wherein they showcase the elegance and beauty of the way they do things, the way they dress, the way they see things as shown in different paintings, as they have been influenced by events that happened in their history. One of the most frustrating and confusing feelings one can experience in a foreign land is the so called Culture Shock, which basically results from a foreigner’s inability to adopt or adjust to another culture different from one’s own. You don’t have to experience that to the extreme; instead you must strive hard to learn the different aspects of cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is important because our country, our workplaces and our schools include persons of various ethnics groups and interests. We can learn from one another, but first we must have a level of understanding about one another in order to work together effectively. Cultural diversity training also helps people to dispel negative stereotypes about one another. By studying culture, we come to understand how the world around us evolves and manifests. We come to understand how people react to life and circumstances, how they live, what they are trained to live by, how that training affects their lives, how they respond to it. We come to understand the difference in humans, what holds us together and what does not. It helps us understand where we come from, how we may improve our lives and how to better understand each other and improve our behavioral connections in this world. But one thing is for sure, again, let me end it up by saying “To learn the culture of other nations, we need first to love our own.”