One of the most interesting things about the international diversity class for me was hearing all the ways other countries are more accepting than the United States. Here we like to bill ourselves as “The Land of the Free,” but we still have so many problems with different types of diversity. Whether it is based on ethnicity, religion, social class, or some other meaningless difference. Personally, living in Oklahoma my whole life, I have experienced being an outsider because of my religion. I am a Roman Catholic in the middle of the Bible Belt, and that puts many people off when they learn that about me. I know in other parts of the world being Catholic is normal and no one really thinks about it. In America, primarily the southern United States, people know very little about Catholicism. They hear rumors, believe those rumors without fact checking, and develop stereotypes based off those rumors that they then apply to every person whom they know is Catholic.

I am not overly concerned about diversity while I study abroad. One of the main reasons I want to study abroad is to experience the lives of people who are different from me. I am looking forward to the roles being flipped; I will not be in the white middle class majority anymore, and I will hopefully get to know a place where your religion does not define you. I want to experience a culture that is as accepting as America claims to be.

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