The topic of foreigners seems to be on a lot of minds these days. Foreign policy, immigration, refugees. There is no shortage of fiery opinions about these issues on social media or the evening news. Even among people of faith, attitudes towards "the other" are as different as they can be. But one voice that is often absent in these public conversations is that of the foreigners themselves.
I have been a foreigner in multiple countries for most of my life and I have academic training in cross-cultural issues. So I decided to start this blog to share my thoughts on what it's like to be an outsider and how genuine friendships with those different from us are possible in our often divided world.
This is a safe and welcoming place for everyone.
I am also a Christian who has come to a deeper relationship with God in a context when I was the foreigner. The story of the God who became a foreigner to welcome all outsiders to His table has transformed my life. I have seen the incredible effects of friendship and unconditional love in my own life, and I hope to be able to share them with others.
My passion for building bridges between people of different cultures and backgrounds is both professional and personal. As an academic, I have a Ph.D. in linguistics, specializing in cross-cultural communication, and I teach college courses in linguistics and related areas.
On a more personal level, my own life has been deeply impacted by the shrinking of the world, the mingling of cultures, and by “the other” becoming one of us. My experiences with other cultures shape who I am today: I grew up as a “foreigner” in my own country because we used to be a conquered people back in Soviet Moldova; I became an exchange student to the U.S. in high school; I married a Mexican man; we worked at a children's home in Mexico together; I did graduate work in cross-cultural communication; I teach courses related to language and culture. Oh, and my husband and I are raising trilingual kids in a culture neither one of us grew up in. Dealing with other cultures and languages is part of my personal and professional life, and I love and struggle with it on a daily basis.
I plan to post a few times a month on topics related to foreigners, my personal experience as an outsider, God and "the other," and practical tips for positive engagement with those who are different from us.
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I would love to hear from you too. What issues related to foreigners or cross-cultural matters are on your mind today?
Note: Please be respectful when you comment. I reserve the right to delete comments that are rude, off-topic, or not conducive to productive dialogue.