What is Global?

Is global a mindset, a feeling, a process? Is it a gradual increase in connectivity? Is a person global, is a company global? Do these questions talk about the physicality of being global, or is it an understanding of many cultures simultaneously that make someone or something global?

It could be all of these, it could be none. I can speak to, and reflect on my own experiences about living in other countries and the states, but does this specific set of experiences translate to being global?

You can live and experience a place in a bubble or vacuum, not assimilating the culture while you visit. In fact, depending on the situation you can even impose your culture on others without meaning to. I believe that being global is not only having the experiences of many places and peoples, but also understanding your effect on them and how you can learn from anywhere, from anyone, and that every day is a teachable moment.

We can move so quickly from one side of the world to the other both physically and digitally, over the internet that we can remain in contact with people from almost anywhere (as long as they want to reply back). So, while one aspect of being global is to physically go to places to experience them, it is forming relationships with others that last, rather than superficial relationships for business or other resource gathering ventures. Relationships can start in this manner and can bring people together, its that such relationships, to be valued, must eventually have more ties than convenience.

This feeling of global may not even be apparent to us if you experience other places early in life and are aware of them, or if you have many friends who are from other countries. I feel that it is possible to be global without leaving a country. While it is perhaps not as genuine as being to these places, being exposed to other points of view and other cultures, no matter how briefly can change a person’s outlook and demeanor.

Being global is different from globalization which for me comes historically out of imperialism where western cultures tried to dominate other places. I feel that globalization also often refers to products or companies that begin to expand into other international markets and begin to be perceived as over-bearing or even rejected.

Globalization is not all bad though.  Now this process of globalization is what led to the ability for individual people to travel and see other places. So, while first contact may not always be positive, the process of globalization is what can bring “global” people together.

This is the separation between the process of globalization and the result which are global citizens. So, for me being global is having experiences in many nations, with others, in an effort to establish meaningful relationships in the future exchanging ideas and culture. This exchange then keeps us accountable to new friends and the culture that we begin to assimilate into our own.


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