Thrash Wins Third Place in Scholarship Competition | Local News
International Cultural Exchange Services has selected Erica Thrash, 15, of Coquille, as the third place winner of the 2021 Bridging Cultures Scholarship. Thrash is a sophomore at Coquille High School.
The scholarship included a competition in which applicants shared their thoughts in an original 400-600 word essay on the topic: How can we build cultural bridges and positive relationships with people who think or believe differently from us? The scholarship was open to high school students from across the country who competed for seven scholarships totaling $ 10,000. As the third place winner, Thrash will receive $ 1,000 for her college education.
Regarding his thoughts on building bridges of cross-cultural understanding, Thrash says, “In order to build cultural bridges and positive relationships with people who are different from you, you must be prepared to accept and appreciate their diversity. Thrash’s full essay can be seen below.
After graduating from high school, Thrash plans to go to Oregon State University and major in environmental policy and economics. Her professional aspirations are either to be an environmental scientist or to bio-conserve marine life.
ICES is a non-profit youth exchange organization that offers high school students the opportunity to study abroad. Each year, ICES brings students from over 30 countries to the United States and provides study abroad opportunities for American students. ICES is currently accepting applications from host families and applicants for study abroad for the 2021-2022 academic year. For more information visit www.icesusa.org or call 800-344-3566.
To build cultural bridges and positive relationships with people who are different from you, you must accept. I don’t have a lot of experience with other cultures because I couldn’t travel due to the host family, but there are always people with different points of view all around you. To connect with someone who may not be of the same religion, ethnicity, culture, or state of mind, you must be prepared to accept and appreciate their diversity. Going through host families, I always felt that I had to conform to what the host family expected of me. I tried to be the perfect vision of what they had in mind, instead of being myself. It was only recently that I began to understand that diversity is important.
My experiences show me that in order to maintain positive relationships with others, you have to recognize the similarities and differences between the two peoples. After being adopted and living in a home that encourages diversity, I notice the many differences and find that each difference makes who she is. No one is the same; we always have differences between us, but also similarities. I felt alienated when I left home because I always had to develop new relationships. I didn’t know people, but it helped me recognize and see the many ways I could interact with people.
Cultural bridges can be built through asking questions and trying to show people that you embrace their culture. By learning about their culture, you can try to experience it and show them that you are ready to try new things. For example, you can try foreign dishes from their country or cultural region. This gesture will help them understand that you appreciate them and their culture, thus creating a cultural bridge between you. Even if you don’t know much about someone’s culture, you can still try to find out more. Typically, it’s the thought that counts.
In conclusion, building cultural bridges and positive relationships with others is something almost anyone can do. It may take time and effort, but it’s worth all the hard work. You will grow and learn as you relate to others, especially if they are different from you. You can become more tolerant and more understanding. You may learn to appreciate the diversity of the world or see the differences in the laces you wear. Everyone has their own culture and there is always more to learn and new things to try.