Having conversations with people from other countries and with cultures different from my own is consistently enriching. I appreciate challenging my own perspectives and learning again and again that my point of view is limited compared to the impossibly vast diversity of opinion that composes the totality of the human experience. It is humbling to know that I will continue discovering new things for the duration of my life. Every time I travel I learn that the experiences I have collected as the individual that I am are only a drop of water in the ocean of knowledge held by the people who surround me.
I learned in Ecuador that languages not only open doors of communication, but that they additionally unlock new ways of thinking and feeling. It is incredible to have access to people we would otherwise not be able to converse with, but it goes further than that. Conversations in English versus French versus Spanish are not simply translated versions of each other. From different tones used to express emotion, to different humour used to break uncomfortable silences, language conveys so much more than verbs and adjectives side-by-side which create meaning. When I meet somebody who speaks Arabic or Malay or Ukrainian, not only do they have a world of vocabulary completely inaccessible to me, but they also hold a knowledge system I can't begin to quantify. That's why languages, and people, fascinate me.
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