Bill George, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic, stresses the importance of the concept of “Global Intelligence” and notes how integral it is to successful leadership in our ever-changing and increasingly global economy. Worldview, self-awareness, and cultural curiosity are three of seven qualities he described that differentiate successful global leaders. After visiting Spain for two weeks, my worldview has changed, my self-awareness has increased, and I have become more open to exploring new cultures and geographies without fear or prejudice.
Life in Madrid and Barcelona is Extremely Different from America
I had visited the Dominican Republic, Paris, London, and Amsterdam before taking this class. However, I did not know anything about Spain. I never had any aspirations to go to Spain in my life so I enrolled in this course with an open mind and was curious to see what I got out of it. Before departing for Spain, our class learned a lot about Spanish culture and how different it is from ours here in America. However, I am someone who believes experience is the best teacher in life so I really got an understanding of Spanish Culture when I was out in Madrid and Barcelona. Despite the differences between the cultures, I was able to adapt relatively easy. I have never been in an area with as much tourist that were in Madrid and Barcelona so learning that personal space is something that is not really valued in these cities was not surprising to me. One of the smallest things I thought was really interesting is how people stand on the right side of the escalator if they are not walking up or down it. In our culture, people walk or stand on both sides of the escalator.
My Self-Awareness Increased While in Spain
This was my first time traveling to Spain and I did not know the diversity of either Madrid or Barcelona. Being an African American, I was curious to see what ethnicities and nationalities I would see when I got there. I did not think Madrid had that much diversity, but I saw and met people from a lot of different places around the world in Barcelona. Being someone that did not know how diverse either city was before traveling, I was curious to see how people would treat me in this part of Europe. Everyone I encountered treated me with respect and were really nice for the most part so I enjoyed my stay in both cities.
I’m Open to Exploring New Cultures
Before traveling to Spain, I was not someone that was really open to exploring new cultures and geographies. After visiting Spain and enjoying my stay, I no longer have a fear of exploring what I do not know. As humans, I think we too often allow the opinions of others or things we see to cloud our judgement. Experience is the best teacher in life and because of this trip, I will be more open to exploring new cultures whenever I get an opportunity.