Those maps (index) provide a great way to understand how different other parts of the world from where we are.
For example, those three maps (refugee origins, international emigration and tourist origins) show how different are the ways people of the world learn about other countries: those who are relocating abroad are not likely to have chances to visit their destination country before it.
It also adds a point to my recently frequent discussions with friends about controversial immigration exam in the Netherlands. Although I pretty much agree with those who say that it’s selectiveness, format and costs are raising unfair entry barriers for many, I can’t admit that it also raises cultural awareness of people who are about to move to another culture.
It’s only now I’m realising how unprepared I has been personally to live in a country with different culture, even given my interest in other cultures, travels abroad and almost a year in the Netherlands as a student. Given those experiences and all my readings on moving between cultures I’m starting to believe that deeper knowledge about other cultures (especially those there you are likely to spend the rest of your life) is essential if you plan a move. I can imagine how “immigration exam” in some form could be an important point in this process.
And, once I’m at it: a point from another side. Sometimes I’m suprised to find out that well-travelled Dutch friends and colleagues actually never travelled outside the “Western civilisation” (Europe and North America) and that they do they know much about dramatically different cultures (I mean: knowing about culture beyond food and goods). I guess in the global world everyone should take some kind of “immigration exam”, even those who stay in their own country…
Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2006/04/10.html#a1760; comments are here.