As soon as I completed the book about McDonald’s diversity practices, None of Us Is as Good as All of Us, I was packing for my European vacation.  Over the last two weeks, my husband and I visited my friends in Spain.

So, it was just too ironic when we finally arrived (after 3 plan rides, 2 subway lines, and 1 high-speed train) in their hometown of Ciudad Real…to find a McDonald’s in plain view.  Instead of being disappointed with the international spread of American commercialism, I took it with stride.  I was proud to tell my Spanish friends that McDonald’s is known for its outstanding diversity practices.

Then, I decided to approach my vacation more thoughtfully.  I promised that I would try anything and everything my friends offered me.  I didn’t care if I was off-schedule or tired.  I didn’t worry about becoming nauseus after trying new food.  I was determined to become a Spaniard!

The Verdict?

I loved it! I loved everything!

AND, I have a greater appreciation for who my friends really are.  I met their friends.  I spent time with their families.  I explored the cities that they experience daily.  I ate their food.  I learned more about what they enjoy.  I understand how they spend their days.

So, I would encourage all nonprofit professionals: before you judge, choose to experience.  Before you dismiss, appreciate.  You will be amazed at what you learn.  You will better understand your clients and your co-workers.  You will learn how to appreciate other worldviews.

Please leave a comment with your thoughts!  Have you ever been immersed in a completely different culture?

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