By Jaron van der Laan
After nearly three months of being in Malta, I have made friends with all kinds of different nationalities, cultures and people. This makes my time here wonderful and that’s why I will fully focus on this topic, in this blog. I am a strong believer this has to do with two factors: Normality and no limitations.
Elsewhere I described how there were some major differences in culture concerning my newly colleagues and myself. After some time, I started to see these cultural “shocks” more and more. After some time, it became not as strange for me because you saw it a lot. After some time, it became normal. Factor 1: Normality.
When you got used to the strange things (speaking for someone who never saw something like that before) then it becomes a lot easier to meet and speak with and understand them why they do certain things. Understanding someone is a major part in befriending someone. Time makes it easier. Spending time with someone increases the “normal” thoughts about someone. It is easier to make friends with someone out of your country/region, because these people are the closest to normal than any other people. That’s why people sometimes need some time to befriend with other cultures.
Secondly, culture is a concept which is predominantly limited to borders and countries. The difference with friendship is, is that it is not a concept of borders and limitations. A conclusion which you could make is, is that friendship is a concept which is far stronger than culture. It does not matter where you come from or what you or how think. Everybody can be a friend. Factor 2: No limitations. An aspect which really can be linked to the first factor. With no limitations I mean that you are fully aware of the differences between culture and nationality, but outside these two components we are just the same.
One of the things which makes my time in Malta really enjoyable is making new friends. The biggest thing I have learned about culture the last months is that people with a certain culture would certainly search more contact with people from their own culture and rather not with others. I thought relatively the same and I thought I would never make foreign friends so quick. But I have done just that. These months I have learned to not look at only your own people, but to everyone. When you know the “strange” things of another culture it makes it a lot easier as well to make friends. So, actually… Making friends is so easy.