Becky Stephen was born in the US as an ‘air force brat’, growing up in several states in the US, as well as in England. Long fascinated by Indian culture and philosophy, Becky went to India in 1988 to study Hindi at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. She met her South Indian husband there and ended up living in Varanasi for five years.
Becky has a Masters in Cross Cultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, and has developed and led cross-cultural and other training programs and events in the USA, India, Eurasia, Europe and the Arabian Peninsula. After 3 years in Dubai as a management consultant, cross-cultural trainer, and crisis debriefer for expats during the Arab Spring, she moved with her husband and son to Atlanta, Georgia, USA where she trains and supervises Americans on long-term international assignment.
Becky has lived in 4 countries and visited 34 more. She anticipates adding a few more in the coming year. But her most dearly loved is still India.
It's easy in the chaos generated in any cross-cultural experience - especially one as 'other' as India - to interpret what you see, hear, smell and feel as 'bad' or 'stupid'. It's not how you do things. It doesn't make sense in your world. But deeper than the differences is our shared humanness. Everything makes sense to someone. So rather than impose your cultural values on their behaviour, ask “Why?” What sense does it make to those who live in it? Finding the answer will increase your appreciation of the differences, your of love the people, and your ability to adapt.
During my first trip to India I sat across from another young woman on the train. We could not have been more different: educated American city girl travelling far from home meets semi-literate Indian village girl on her local train. Curious about each other, we tried – unsuccessfully - to communicate. Until she coaxed me to sing. That began a 2 hour “conversation” between 2 worlds, each in our own language, communicating to the heart of the other through music. I’ve met many people and rode many trains since that day. But few experiences or people have touched me as deeply.