Hometown: Grand Rapids, MI
Trip: Czech Republic
Profession: Global Marketing, Zondervan
While I have personally had exposure to many culturally diverse situations, I have not had experience in Eastern Europe (or “central” Europe as they call themselves) and have never visited a nation so strongly influenced by both Nazism and Communism. Seeing the Czech people’s drive and motivation to learn and succeed, despite the historical circumstances, made for a very valuable educational experience; one that expanded my cultural intelligence.
Although I prepared for the trip by reading and felt somewhat intelligent about their country, nothing could have prepared me for the learning that took place by meeting Czech people face-to-face. As outsiders, we can understand factual data and details, but understanding the emotional feelings and realities that go hand-in-hand with that data can only be understood through a native person’s experience and testimony.