The Importance of a Global Network
The significance of having a global network is something that is often overlooked. In the past, networking-that is, creating a network of people around you-has been something on a national scale, and the thought of attaining a global network seemed relatively unrealistic. However, with today's technology and the facilitation of travel, this concept is not only realistic, but highly probable. Increasingly every day, it is not far-fetched that you would walk by dozens of people from around the world on a day to day basis.
The problem at hand nowadays, now that technology breaks barriers and cheaper transportation makes travel increasingly possible, is that we are so wrapped up in these travel facilitators at the tip of our fingers, we forget the importance of looking up from them to truly experience what is before us and connect with people to create a real network rather than simply an internet network.
It is not rare that someone will complain about how "hard" it is to meet people, when, in fact, it is actually rather easy. Making the decision to take a deep breath, look up from your mobile device, and strike up conversation with someone next to you may be uncomfortable, but it certainly isn't difficult.
I am now at the end of my month long journey with my sister, and I must admit that something I have realized only recently during this trip is how much the Global Network University that is NYU has changed my outlook on the world in merely a year. I wouldn't say that I am shy or introverted, but, like most people my age, it is difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone when it comes to meeting people. Especially people from other cultures, as the fear of embarrassing myself or insulting them overrides my desire to speak up. However, after a year at NYU Shanghai, where no two people are alike, and everyone is happy to share their story and get to know you, such fears no longer exist in me. Talking to a person from another culture is something I do every day at school. Connecting with people from around the world is an unintentional side effect of simply getting to know my classmates.
So, as I have been hopping from country to country, befriending random strangers of all ages now comes with ease. Being a part of the Global Network University lifts the veil between myself and the other, because, when it comes down to it, I've found more commonalities with people across the globe than I have differences. Cultures may vary, but so do personal preferences. When looking at people as an individual and not as a foreign member of a foreign culture, barriers and differences seem to fade away, creating a series of global citizens who are all connected, rather than the distanced people we imagine the rest of the world to be.