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Politics and People – including all of the f*** offs

October 2, 2014

Studying abroad has already taught me one thing – people have different opinions. Now I was fully aware of this obvious fact before I moved to Vienna, it’s just that here, you can see it more clearly.

You take thousands and thousands of erasmus/exchange students from all around the world and say live together. In itself it’s amazing, but when you consider the sheer breadth of opinions and viewpoints it’s remarkable that there isn’t more violence!

Politics plays a big part in conversation. Only because international news is something we can all discuss (apart from those who prefer to not bother themselves with other countries bad news and sorrow…nice people. Apart from nice sheltered people…) It comes up often. And this is where you see the differences. All of a sudden Germany and England are arguing the same point against Turkey or America whilst Russia blissfully acts as fuel to the fire.

Often people from cultures that we don’t recognise as the same as our own come across as rude, confrontational or just plain wrong. But that is because they had a different education and they know a different way of living and not one way is correct.

Something which initially shocked me was how many homophobic people there are. (Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of those in England as well). They use words which one finds hurtful to hear and they seem proud of their beliefs. I can’t understand. At first (in one particular…’conversation’…) I engaged in this debate. Something which I immediately regretted. There was no winning, no convincing to be had; the conclusion was ‘f*** off’ and dinner was swiftly over.

Debates happen often. It’s amazing. It’s clear that people enjoy having their opinions challenged and they want to try and see different viewpoints (most of the time)! Opportunities like this is where you see that people from around the world, despite huge huge differences (some people hate cake…however that could just be personal taste – who knows…) can come together, live and work together.

Politics will always be a dividing line. But that is what it is meant to be. Without discussion and occasionally getting frustrated about something talking about politics would, quite frankly, become rather boring!

So now as I go to try and teach people that there is more to my culture than tea (tea is pretty good…) and far more to my politics than Thatcher I say – see how much you learn from people today.

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