The unnoticed assumption

I joined an Arabic music club last semester. I did not plan to do so. My original plan was to learn some music stuff. And in the meantime, my advisor was in that club called Itraab. Then I thought, why not? I started to play hand drums with time and learn how to sing Arabic songs. I didn’t expect the Arabic culture is so romantic until I understand those lyrics. I learned Chinese poems as I grow up. I read Jane Eyre when I was in high school. My experience with Arabic culture was limited. Then when I went to Itraab, I finally realized that love is also a great part of Arabic culture. It seems obvious when you think about it. But the thing was that I had not thought about it before this year. This reminds me of the podcast called “How ‘The Hidden Brain’ Does The Thinking For Us.” I live with many assumptions. I don’t even know many of them exist and they are guiding my behavior. They are there like air. I depend on them and I do not feel them.
Internationalization is unstoppable in the current era. Our education should prepare this generation and the following generations for the tide of global communication. When we encounter something that is beyond our understanding, we may want to revisit the basics and figure if we have some assumptions that are obviously wrong.

6 thoughts on “The unnoticed assumption

  1. Jonathan Harding says:

    Your post reminded me of a quote from Mark Twain, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” We might not have the chance to travel the world and get to know each culture intimately. However, as you demonstrated, there are ways to experience different cultures meet new people without having to travel. We just need to be mindful in taking advantage of the opportunities to do so.

  2. Jyotsana says:

    Thank you for your perspective Qichao and I agree with what Jonathan has to say. As upcoming educators of the 21st century, it does become our responsibility to bring opportunities that give rise to global citizens and not just stop and places and things that are comfortable. Leaning into discomfort is what results in growth.

  3. sofrgp says:

    I agree Qichao, normally we create hundreds of assumptions when we do not take the risk to go beyond of the known. As future professors, we should think in how are we going to provide a platform to our learners so they can take advantage of the diverse opportunities as you did learning from the Arabic culture.

  4. Your post reminds my Iranian friend. We were talking about the crazy weather in Blacksburg. She asked about the weather in Colombia and I said: “in my city, it is always warm and sunny”. I said, “we have the same weather all the time”. She was very confused I could see that awkward expression in her face. I did not understand why. I was thinking maybe I pronounced a word wrong and she did not understand what I wanted to say. Then, she told me that she assumed that we also have seasons. She had never thought about. She just assumed that because she also has seasons in Iran, in Latin America, we also have that. So when you say that we make assumptions that are obviously wrong, I totally agree. I do that all the time!

  5. Vanessa Guerra says:

    This post reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s video about “the danger of the single story”. Assumptions are pre-conceived ideas that are created because of our exposure to single stories. It is only when we recognize that there is never a single story that we will understand that assumptions such as stereotypes are build because of the lack of information regarding a particular culture or country. And this is a barrier we can overcome with education.

  6. brooks92 says:

    Really excited to hear that music was your gateway to other cultures. I am constantly telling anyone that will listen that music is the universal language. It allows us to communicate with people all over the world, and at a really deep and intimate level what’s more.

    Aside from great literature and the foundations of western music, I’d like to mention a couple more things we have Arabic culture to thank for: coffee, algebra, and hospitals.
    It’s already a “can’t live without” list!

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