Lately I have been taking the time to sit back and reflect a little bit about some of the things that I have experienced in my life. One of the things that I have been thinking about is how international experience has benefitted me. My father’s occupation was one that required him to relocate about once every three years. Normally we would live in either Germany or the U.S.A. As a child growing up under these circumstances I was able to see and live in a lot of different places. This provided me with a wide variety of first hand international experience.
I have been contemplating and evaluating how this has helped me develop as a person. Yes, I thought, I have seen a lot but what is it good for? I think I have come up with at least somewhat of an explanation to this question. From the discipline game theory I recently learned of the concept of ‘bounded reality’. This says that the rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make decisions. As an academic I naturally strive to make rational decisions and I try to equip myself with all the tools necessary to make those decisions. I have come to the conclusion that at least one of the three limitations to rationality is at least to some degree under my control. Knowing this makes me appreciate international experience much more.
International experience is not just going to visit another country or interacting with individuals from different cultures. Hopefully it is the broadening of one’s own perspective. The wonderful thing about different cultures is that they contain varying viewpoints which from an outsider’s point of view is like looking into and experiencing a completely different world. An outsider’s world after this is forever changed as this experience has added new elements to his or her own perspective.
I accept the fact that I will never know everything and I will never be 100% rational. Even so, I do have the ability to attempt to maximize my rationality with regard to the world that I am in and that world is an international one. So in conclusion international experience has enabled me to broaden my perspective and hopefully allowed me to be a more rational individual, especially in the context of our globalizing world today.
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