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7 Signs You Are a Global Citizen

by Matt Hershberger Dec 18, 2014
1. You have a healthy contempt for artificial boundaries.

There’s some truth to the saying that good fences make good neighbors: it’s good to know where you stop and the person next to you begins. But a good global citizen knows that these artificial boundaries are, at the end of the day, artificial, and as a result, can easily be torn down when they wear out their use. While this can refer to national borders (some of which are still pretty damn useful), it can also refer to divides between race, class, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, and even to species. Global citizens know that, at our cores, we are one.

2. You care about people beyond just those around you.

Families and friends are wonderful, but a good global citizen recognizes that she sees from where she stands, and that people standing elsewhere are just as valuable as she. Sometimes, it’s hard to really feel this — it’s much easier to connect with people who are like you, so when someone gets killed who is like you, it may be easier to feel their family’s pain than the mourning relatives of someone else who has been killed on the other side of the world. But a global citizen realizes that just because she may feel this way doesn’t mean that her grief, joy, or anger are any more or less real than the people on the other side of the world.

3. You never stop learning.

Listening is everything. Reading is everything. Learning is everything. It’s more or less impossible to be born worldly. You have to get there through exploring, through empathizing, and through discovering new things.

4. You read news from all over the place.

Global citizens are interested in the world, so they read a lot about the world. But most importantly, they read about the world from other perspectives. If you aren’t looking at the world through as many eyes as possible, you’re not seeing it as clearly as possible. Global citizens also recognize that there’s no such thing as an “unbiased” article; rather, they try to be aware of the article’s bias and keep it in mind when considering what it’s trying to say.

5. You travel.

Travel is essential for getting to know about the world. While you can certainly learn a lot through books, videos, movies, and stories told by others, nothing beats firsthand experience. When you’re in a place for real, stereotypes and prejudices begin to fall apart.

6. You are open to new things.

Global citizens have trained themselves to pause for a moment before judging something that is unfamiliar or uncomfortable to them. They understand that what may be right for them is not necessarily right for everyone else, and they are willing to give someone else’s culture and lifestyle a chance. This also makes them way more fun to be around — they’ll usually try anything that isn’t mortally dangerous at least once, and they’ll always be open to putting new experiences under their belt.

7. You are engaged in politics — particularly regarding human rights and the environment.

You can’t care for the world and not be interested in making it a just, healthy, happy place. Political engagement and debate can be exhausting, difficult, and sometimes even violent, but it ultimately is what changes the world for the better (or for the worse). And it’s easy to find energy for politics when the dignity of your friends on the other side of the globe or the health of the planet you love is at stake.

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