cultural empathy

A Mission of Constant Denial

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” ― Randy Pausch

Throughout our lives, I am sure we have all heard wise people harp on the importance of perseverance.  Although I have been constantly reminded of this importance, I do not think it ever really sunk in until recently.  

Since the beginning of the Peace Stamps mission, there has been constant denials, whether it is denied visa applications, denied grant applications, denied sponsorship opportunities, the inability to find volunteer projects, or just the general disapproval of people I tell about my mission.  After my most recent denied grant application, I was wondering to myself why I am even trying to achieve this goal.  World peace and cultural empathy is such a lofty goal.  Is it really achievable?  

I believe it is!  I believe in this mission so much that I am willing to persevere through the constant denials and hurdles because the end goal is worth it.

If you truly believe in something, do not let any amount of impediments stop you from pursuing your goals and dreams.  There will always be obstacles and set backs; but when you overcome them, it makes that end goal so much more worth it!

I know it sounds cliché, but I hope that each and everyone of my readers will do what makes them happy and not stop until they have achieved their dreams.


Let’s Focus on the Positives

With so much bad going on in the world right now, it is easy to generalize and say the world is a bad place, but that is not the case.

Over the past few weeks, I have been able to experience what is occurring in the United States from an outsider’s point of view.  Many locals I talk to ask me, “What the heck is going on with your country?”  I often don’t know what to say.  I am at a loss for words because I know that our country is not actually the way it is depicted in international media.  I believe it is not the way national media depicts it either, quite honestly.  I feel that there is too much emphasis on the negative and not enough on the positive.  This week when the terrible events were occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia, there were also a lot of good stories out there.  For instance, the non-profit organization, Life After Hate’s work.  Life After Hate is a non-profit that employs former neo-Nazis and white supremacists to help others renounce their extremism and hateful lifestyles.  The organization “utilizes education, dialogue, and community in order to help extremists realize the root of their hatred.”  Personally, I feel we rarely see stories like this in the mainstream media.  

Another great story this week is about a man who gave up his six-figure salary to go teach at a poor school.  Now 95% of the students have been accepted to top colleges.  How great is that?!?  

In our fast paced world, it is easy to just focus on what the mainstream media tells us.  With so much focus on the negative, it can be difficult and time-consuming to dig for positive news.  I urge you to start focusing on the positives of the world.  One of my favorite places to read positive stories is at  I love reading their stories and they always bring a smile to my face.  

In relation to traveling, I often hear from people, “Why are you traveling to [insert country]??? It’s so dangerous!”  The same thing applies to other countries- do your research.  I often find that blogs depict a more accurate picture of what a country is really like.  The media focuses on the negative events in countries when the country is actually full of peaceful people.  This week I wrote a lengthy Facebook post about every person that has made a positive impact on my life so far in this journey.  I encourage you to take three minutes out of your day to read it here.  

There are so many good people out there.  Just remember that and focus on the positive.  My main mission behind Peace Stamps is to bring positivity to the world and share positivity that we may not have the chance to see.  I promise to keep doing that :) 

-Katelyn Jarvis

The Foundation of World Peace

As many of you know, the mission of Peace Stamps is to promote cultural empathy by making a positive difference through your travels.  We pursue volunteer projects in every country we visit in order to immerse ourselves in the culture, make an impact on the community, and gain cultural empathy.

So what is cultural empathy?  Cultural empathy is the capacity, within a person, to appreciate the feelings, thoughts and behavior of individuals from different cultural backgrounds.  One does not have to agree with the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of different cultures, but it is important to learn to accept different cultures, as long as they do not cause harm.  

At Peace Stamps, we believe that cultural empathy is the foundation of World Peace.  Many of the worlds’ issues stem from an empathy deficit.  In addition, many of the worlds’ issues stem from the forcing of one’s own culture on others.  World Peace requires a balance of cultural empathy and peacefully educating others of one’s own culture.

Peace Stamps chooses volunteering to gain cultural empathy, as well as positively promote one’s own culture.  When volunteering, we get to experience areas that are off the beaten path where there is greater potential for authentic cultural immersion.  Just remember it is important to be aware of your surroundings.  We find cultural immersion to be the simplest way of gaining an understanding of a culture and cultural empathy.  In addition, many people around the world often do not have the chance to interact with people from different cultures and countries.  Making a positive difference in their lives not only improves their lives, but creates a positive association with one’s country of origin.  This may be the only time they interact with someone from a different country and now they have a positive opinion of the country. 

In conclusion, we believe that if people give one day of their vacation to volunteer in a different country, the world would be heading in the right direction towards WORLD PEACE.