In elementary school and high school, we studied social studies and geography, and learned about three economic spheres in the world — developed, developing and underdeveloped countries. Alternatively labeled first world, second world and third world countries. These labels are determined by a country’s GDP (gross domestic product) per capita, Human Development Index, life expectancy and literacy rate.
Although these factors are important in understanding the quality of life of its citizens, we often give up learning about and traveling to certain regions based on these labels.
By labeling a country as “underdeveloped”, we simply limit these countries as typically the conversation regarding a country’s status ends at the label. We fail to learn about a country’s history, languages and culture. We fail to learn about their landscapes, diverse populations and what they eat for dinner. Through my experiences, I have learned the most from people who share a different cultural background than me. As a future educator, I strive to create a community of learners who continue the conversation about countries, diversity and various cultures. It is important to watch what we say and how we say it, and to always continue the conversation. The world is an open book.