Samsara is a film I had never heard of or seen until I watched it in my graduate international communication class. This movie really incited the wanderlust in me and my thirst for globetrotting and intercultural savvy. The fact that it didn’t include dialogue allowed viewers to use their own imaginations, through interior monologue, to speculate the parts of the world where it was filmed. I enjoyed identifying the places that I knew based on my own travel experience such as Shanghai, Manila, Tokyo, etc. Someone who has an appreciation for nature photography admired the cinematography of this movie. Kudos to the filmmaker!
The world music appealed to me as well as each song seemed to reflect the culture and country that was being displayed at the time. Various subdivisions of geography from cultural to physical to regional was evident as well because I got to see how members of each cultural group live their lives in their corner of the world; the way in which they make a living, how they interact with their environment, and how people have sustained their traditions over time.
Samsara embodied the discipline of cultural anthropology, which is what I have experienced in my recent years of living overseas as an expat and now student. Effective and efficient intercultural understanding and communication is ideally achieved by immersing oneself in a culture different from the person's own. Based on my life experience, I have learned to embrace the discrepancies that make the world a colorful and beautiful place and to humble myself when sojourning in a foreign nation. I’ve found such behavior to enhance my overall cultural immersion experience in a way that has truly made me a global citizen.
Working and studying in multicultural settings really challenges your own ability to adapt to a new norm that can make you more flexible and tolerant of diverse peoples. Because our world is more interconnected in this global village, we don’t even have to travel physically anymore in order to communicate with a foreigner thanks to the globalization of cyberspace.
Finally I think it’s imperative that people build their knowledge and understanding of cross- cultural communication because in a global society we need it to promote peace and progress in the political, economic, spiritual, and social sphere. Many if not most international conflicts erupt as a result of cultural misunderstandings, miscommunication and miseducation. The more we seek to understand than to be understood, the better we can become in developing a heightened sensitivity of and awareness to folks who have contrasting worldviews and backgrounds.
Mutual empathy and openness are the tools needed to become better accepting and trusting of culturally different others. Despite our many and varied differences, we are all united by our common human experience. Hence the excellence and essence of traveling!