When I was a teenager, my family and I moved to a country thousands of miles away from the one in which I was born. Having to grow up in two widely different societies with different languages, cultures, norms and ideals is one among the many chances that I have been given to stretch beyond my comfort zones. Now as a young adult, I have began to appreciate how every given chance has required me to challenge the ideas that I already have, improve what I think I am already good at, and has provoked me to learn more about the world. Thanks to my exposure to challenges in the new environments and situations that I have been in, I was able to learn the lesson of how to survive and thrive regardless of wherever I am despite constant changes, at first hand.
What is learning anyway? According to Bransford et al. (2006), learning is, among other things, a social activity that happens in a certain context (could be setting-based such as school, work, or even in cultural context) and involves interactions between people. Thinking back, an important aspect in my own learning process has been human interaction. I believe that every person with whom I interact with could teach me something.
As an introvert however, my biggest challenge is the relatively limited amount of time that I am comfortable spending around people. Not to mention that I prefer one-on-one interaction with people, which might further decrease my chances of meeting as many people as I could. Although I no longer do now, I saw it as a hindrance for a long time.
Truthfully, I am not so sure if the aforementioned preference of mine has to do with introversion or the fact that human interactions, including communication, are multi-faceted. You have to sincerely be willing to accept not only how the one you interact with reacts to what you utter, but also your own reactions towards the utterances of whom you interact with. Moreover, the place in which the interactions take place and the non-verbal aspect of communication which includes emotions, ways of communication, intonation, paralanguage, etc. each plays some role in creating an experience for everyone involved. Due to their element of surprise, one cannot really predict in advance how interactions with other people might go in most cases.
This leads to me welcoming every incoming and possible interaction with other people with a little hint of trepidation.
Maybe introversion has not been the reason for my preference to interact with a very small number of people at any given time. Maybe it is due to my growing awareness of the different aspects of human interactions and a call to further understand these aspects to maximize the experience of interacting with other human beings, regardless of where, how and how many are involved. A note to self: every human interaction brings an opportunity to learn something new.