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  • Writer's pictureAdam Růžička

Voices heard in America

Picture yourself stepping off a plane that has just touched down from Prague, your eyes brimming with anticipation in the bustling LAX terminal for an immersive experience of American culture. What greets you is a cultural shift that is as unexpected as it is delightful, leaving you in a state of pleasant bewilderment in the most positive sense. While I had braced myself for certain differences, the most striking aspect of my US journey was the unique way in which American professionals engaged with the younger generation.

Originating from the Czech Republic, where interactions, particularly those involving authority figures, are generally more reserved and indirect, I initially found myself grappling with a sense of shy hesitation. It was not the awkwardness of a misunderstanding, but an unfamiliar sensation – a hesitation born from a lifetime of navigating social cues. It was a refreshing collision with open communication, a wave that challenged my ingrained social norms and, in the best way possible, inspired me.

During our company visits, a revelation unfolded that surpassed any prior experience. In stark contrast to anything I had previously experienced, we were greeted by entire teams – not merely a handful of representatives. Their role extended beyond a cursory meet-and-greet; they were genuinely interested in hearing our thoughts. They listened with engaged attentiveness as we shared our ideas, participated in discussions with a level of openness that was truly heartening, and responded to our queries with an enthusiasm that underscored their sincere interest in our perspectives. It was a stark contrast to the occasional lecture format I was accustomed to back home. In the face of American openness, it felt like someone had cranked the volume on the communication dial.

This experience served to shatter any preconceived notions I might have harbored about American professionals being dismissive of the ideas of the youth. They valued our insights, actively sought them out, and accorded us a level of respect that was truly empowering. Witnessing firsthand how US companies embraced diverse viewpoints underscored the vital role young professionals can play in driving innovation and navigating the ever-evolving business landscape. As I bid farewell to Los Angeles, I carried with me a far richer takeaway than simply the idyllic Californian dreamin'. But also a piece of the spirit of open dialogue, the belief in the significance of young voices, and the value of actively seeking diverse perspectives.

This journey served as a potent reminder that there is a wealth of knowledge to be shared across cultures. It instilled in me the power of lucid communication and the importance of nurturing environments where everyone, irrespective of their age, background, or social standing, feels at ease expressing their ideas. And that, I believe, is a lesson that transcends borders and can be applied anywhere in the world. The newfound understanding will undoubtedly shape my future interactions and empower me to contribute more meaningfully in both personal and professional settings. This is the essence of the voices heard in America, and it is a melody that will continue to resonate within me.


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