My Visit to Shanghai – Keith Harvey

Shanghai was a city I was largely unfamiliar with. It was a place I had never seen in person and my understanding of it had come largely from movies and television. Conversely, the people of Shanghai were largely unfamiliar with me. I, being a black male with dreadlocks, was something many people had never seen in person but may have encountered while watching basketball (especially considering that China has the largest market for NBA viewership outside the United States). It was quite the experience. I am accustomed to being a minority, however, the sheer amount of amazement that people would show when seeing me on the street was something I was not prepared for.

My trip allowed me to revisit the notion of living in the world’s “melting pot” and the benefits that stem from that. Over the course of my relatively short lifespan, I have come into contact with people hailing from every inhabitable continent. In fact, I think I’ve covered nearly every continent in the Freeman School alone and I’ve done this without venturing out of my way to do so. This is a feat that had gone largely unappreciated until I ventured into a country that probably has about the same amount of diversity as a Kenny Chesney concert.

My exposure to a multitude of different cultures has primed me for international exploits. In my experiences outside the States, this exposure has minimized the impact that culture shock may have on other international travellers. It has heightened my cultural sensitivity and, in my opinion, allowed me to assimilate more easily into cultures different form my own. It’s funny that traveling to a different country actually offered me more insights into my own. Hopefully this trend continues well into the future.

Keith Harvey, Class of 2015