Here in Norway, I have had the opportunity to meet people from a plethora of different backgrounds. At the International Summer School, we have 89 countries represented from all over the world, and it has been a pleasure to form relationships with many of these different students. In forming these relationships, I have begun to realize how crucial it is to share experiences with those from other backgrounds from my own.
A perfect example of this is the other night that I spent with some friends. While I was taking a study break, my roommate invited me to come and watch a soccer match with him and some of his friends. I went and found myself cheering for Sarajevo, a team I had never considered before but that was my roommate’s home team, and having a great time with student from Bosnia and other countries alike (by the way, shout out to Benjamin Muftic for introducing me to one of my new favorite teams). It was in looking back on this moment and others like it that I have realized even more that people are not so different after all.
Regardless of whether we come from America, Italy, Ghana, Argentina, Russia, Bosnia, or Vietnam, we have a lot in common, and we can often have a great time together cheering for a soccer game, dancing on a cruise ship to Copenhagen, or grilling out by the volleyball courts at Blindern. It is these shared experiences that can help us to form relationships and lead to dialogue between people around the world once we realize that, deep down, we’re not really as different as we might think or have been led to believe. This is one of the greatest lessons that I have been able to learn in traveling, and I am thankful that it has been brought up again with surprising clarity here at the International Summer School.