There are perspectives, ones we do not share that we can attempt to understand. A person who does not drink can empathize by going to a party, even if the purpose is to merely understand why parties are ‘fun’ and why a portion of the student body love partying. Another instance would be just the things we do in humanities classes, study, do our readings and argue for a point of view only to be presented with informed viewpoints from the other side. Trying to understand the other side humbles everyone, to know that there is more to the conversation than two sides.
Granted, not all perspectives can be gained this way. One is being a stranger in a new place. This comes with pre-notions, assumptions and stereotypes of the space we are about to enter. These assumptions are challenged, changed and nuanced as time eases its way through. We hold on to some, but we understand that there is more to a space, to people, to rumors than how we’ve understood it from the outside. Even so, looking inwardly while being an outsider is a special opportunity.
What are the special opportunities of an outsider looking inwardly? They come with the chance to compare values, from home and here, the new place. They come with an opportunity to try new things and to decide which suits our changing values, to decide how we feel about feeling differently. They come with an understanding that we will change our minds, that our beliefs will not fit with other people. But thats okay.
Maybe thats the point.