London + Amsterdam: Diversity


The diversity factor has always been a big deal for me. Moving to Texas, my family picked our neighborhood based on my high school's diversity.  My family comes from four different continents, so it has always been important for us to surround ourselves with different cultures.

I knew Western Europe was a decently diverse place, but the experience has honestly caught me off guard. Everywhere you go, you see a rainbow of people. London, especially the center of the city, is incredible. The people you see on the Tube, or the people behind the counter in the shops, are just a show of how many people with roots from all over the world make London their home.

My trip to Amsterdam one-upped London on the topic. I think experiencing a little bit of a language difference helps to clarify that these people live here. They aren't just extremely diverse visitors, they're incredibly friendly people willing to take their time to help you figure out the metro routes. That was probably my most comforting experience so far. The fact that the lady that helped me read the map at the station shared my skin color adds to the diversity conversation. In a different station in Amsterdam, a few black teenagers saw a white girl with a birthday pin and proceeded to sing her a happy birthday song. The girl, at this point overwhelmed and almost in tears, asks them if she can put it on her snapchat, so the teens sing again for her. The station erupted in applause, and I felt like I was in the middle of some heartwarming movie scene.

One of the guys at the agency I shadowed gave me some insight as to why Europe is full of color. After pointing out that only a couple of the people at the agency are Dutch by birth, he went on to explain that the European people have moved on from the color issue for a number of reasons. They've accepted that they are going to receive people from the places they've mistreated. He says the people feel its their duty to accept those people. That ideology makes itself apparent in both cities. People don’t care what color you are, and therefore these people from all over the globe share the same city.

Shawn McKay