Different Rivers to the Same Ocean

Describe a situation where you have had to work or closely associate with someone from a culture very different from your own. What challenges did you face and how did you resolve them?


During my time at the United World College, I have had the opportunity to spend every day of my school life with people from cultures very different from my own. It is hard to think of one specific situation which stands out from the others, but two relationships stand out from the others: Living with a Guatemalan roommate and having an Afghan as one of my best friends. They come from entirely different parts of the world from me, speak totally different languages, and grew up in very different cultures. However, I have come to realize that underneath these differences, there lies a thread of similarities which unite us as people.

The first time I met my Guatemalan roommate, he had just endured 14 hours of traveling which was the longest journey he had ever made. However, upon showing him to our room, I realized we were in for an interesting time. His English went as far as, "Hello, my name is Jonatan, I am pleased to meet you." My Spanish wasn't much better either, "Hola, buenas dias, yo soy Shan, como estas?" We worked out a system of pointing and explaining but I gradually learned Spanish from him while his English fared much better, improving in leaps and bounds. Through the tutoring I gave him, along...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 747 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4463 literature essays, 1451 sample college application essays, 183 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in