It seems that “global citizen” has become a buzzword of sorts for today’s travel-hungry youth. More often than not, vacation selfies, which flood nearly every social media feed, are paired with hashtags like #worldcitizen and #wanderlust. But being part of the global community is about much more than the number of stamps in your passport; it’s understanding (and implementing) a set of shared values that is priceless in today's complex and interconnected world. If you are a global citizen, these nine characteristics should sound familiar to you.
You know the beaten path is often the known and expected one. When a group of your friends decide to vacation in Ibiza (again), you instead embark on your dream trip: a thrilling trek through northern India. Global citizens don’t go along with what others are doing for the sake of fitting in with the crowd. They’re independent-minded and never afraid of exploring the unknown — even if it means doing it solo.
Sure, your Holi selfies look great on Instagram, but you know there’s much more to the festival than tossing around brightly colored powder in a sea of other people. Global citizens take time to learn about different cultures and traditions because they realize it can go a long way in helping them better understand the people, places, and events they experience.
Speaking of other people, we live in a complex world where there is a difference in opinion on just about everything under the sun. Despite this, you believe we can all exist harmoniously. One thing all global citizens recognize is that it is more important to understand one another than to agree on everything. Making an effort to better understand where others are coming from is key to thriving in situations of diversity and belonging to the world community.
Although you may have never visited Nepal, when news spread of the devastating earthquakes that killed thousands of people and left many more displaced or injured, you were emotionally affected and felt compelled to help. Global citizens don’t let borders stand in the way of showing compassion; they care for people all over the world — including those they’ve never met.
You believe the saying: the best things in life are free. As cliché as it may sound, you really do think experiences trump material possessions and would pass on buying the latest tech gadget if it meant you were able to spend your spring break exploring the ins and outs of an unfamiliar city. Global citizens are always eager to broaden their minds with new experiences, which at the end of the day are likely to last longer than something purchased at the mall.
Instant gratification is everything in today’s world. You can chat with someone in real-time from opposite sides of the globe, or deposit a paycheck to your bank account in seconds from your mobile phone. But over-indulging in these modern conveniences has come at a price: people are becoming increasingly impatient. You are different; you believe faster isn’t necessarily better. Like global citizens, you are willing to put the time and energy into something — even if you won't see the results immediately.
Big issues call for big solutions. You don’t get overwhelmed easily and are always up for a challenge. Global citizens don’t stand by and watch others come up with answers to the problems we all face. They may not necessarily have solutions to each issue, but they’re able to make sense of complex situations and …
… work alongside others to solve them. The beauty of a global community is its diversity. Global citizens are like great sports captains: they can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates and understand how to work with different personalities to inspire others to contribute to the task at hand.
Like the saying goes: with great power comes great responsibility. Global citizens belong to an emerging world community and they recognize this as a responsibility as much as it is a privilege. You embrace your role in the world community and understand how your actions help shape our world.