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Embracing Cultural Immersion: A Journey Discovering Personal & Global Growth - From the Streets of South Asia to the Heart of Chile

April 15, 20233 min read

“The complexity & vastness to South-East Asia is truly remarkable!” - Tony B.

Tony B. playing in the park with local kids from Slums

Home to One of the Largest Slum Communities in the World!⏎

Embracing Cultural Immersion

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the importance of understanding & appreciating other cultures cannot be overstated. As a young & minority entrepreneur, I am passionate about immersing myself in diverse cultural experiences to learn from them. I am excited to embark on a semester-long study abroad program in Chile, where I hope to enhance my language skills, broaden my understanding of the Hispanic culture, then apply the lessons learned to positively impact the communities around me.

My recent humanitarian trip to South-East Asia was a transformative experience that opened my eyes to the resilience & strength of the human spirit. The bustling city, home to over 25 million people, offered a unique opportunity to witness firsthand the challenges and triumphs faced by those living in red-light areas & slum communities. As I navigated the maze-like streets, the unwavering support of those who helped me raise nearly $2,800 for this endeavor resonated deeply within me for the needs that were meet. The kind generosity of friends, family, & even strangers fueled my determination to help make a difference.

Witnessing the situations of the people I spent time with has forever altered my perspective on life & my role as an American citizen. This journey taught me that we all have a responsibility to foster love, empathy, relationships and support others, regardless of geographic or cultural boundaries. The time spent in South-East Asia was a profound lesson of grace. Igniting a fire within me to continue pursuing experiences that foster cultural exchange & personal growth. This desire led me to seek a study abroad opportunity in Chile, where I will live with a local family through a homestay program for an entire semester. It is my belief that fully immersing oneself in another culture is essential to cultivating a broader perspective and a more compassionate worldview.

Santiago, Chile

In Chile, I hope to improve my Spanish language skills. This experience will not only bridge the gap between my Hispanic roots & my current identity but also equip me with valuable tools to better understand and engage with the Hispanic community. Having been raised in a Hispanic family, I recognize the richness of my heritage, yet I have always felt a disconnect due to my limited Spanish proficiency.

As a young entrepreneur who took an extended break from formal education to start a business, these lessons will be invaluable towards my pursuit of a career in international business. I now truly recognize the value of education and the significance of forging global connections. By immersing myself in Chilean culture, course studies, & learning from the local community, I will gain invaluable insights that will inform my approach to international business collaboration.

I will share my experiences & newfound knowledge with my peers, both locally & in more communities. By encouraging others to step out of their comfort zones embracing cultural diversity, we can collectively foster a more understanding and compassionate world. I hope to inspire a new generation of global citizens eager to grow learning from theirs & other's experiences.

-Tony Benton

International TravelHumanitarian ProjectPersonal & Global GrowthCultural Immersion
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Tony B.

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