I have been in the US for almost a week now and it has been great to be able to see all my friends and family during this Thanksgiving break.
I think it is most definitely safe to say that an individuals identity has a lot of influence on their global experience. I can easily say my identity is much different than some of the individuals that I lived with last semester and we all had different experiences. We did do a lot of similar activities but had different outlooks on things at the end of the day which is the biggest difference. Physically we did a lot of the same things, but mentally and emotionally had different understandings. With that being said the mental and emotional part of it is almost more important in the long run because that is where you build knowledge. A big part of an individuals identity is formed by their past experiences. People with different past experiences experience the world differently because they make different connections along the way.
My perspective of New Zealand changed a lot while I was there. My perspective changed every week because I was able to find more similarities or differences with New Zealand and the United States. I was lucky enough to meet some really interesting people who had a big influence on my abroad experience. I think since some of the people I was hanging out with were so different than me they had an even greater influence on me than someone with a similar identity would. My one friend Conor really enjoyed playing basketball and watching NBA games. We became pretty close and learned a lot from each other almost off the simple fact that we both really enjoyed basketball. I met a lot of cool people through Conor who also enjoyed basketball. My Kiwi-host Henry was very different from me besides the fact that we both enjoyed 60s and 70s music. That was enough to make a solid bond between the two of us and he showed me a lot of the cool places around Dunedin that he liked.
Identity plays a big role in global experience.