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A Stranger in a Strange Land reflects on The Bridging Principles™

Dory Estrada, a new Master Facilitator and host family member of The Bridging Principles™ team shares some insights on how the principles show up in her daily life living and working abroad.


Hello everyone! It’s my pleasure to virtually introduce myself as a guest contributor to this blog. I am very humbled that Leah asked me to occasionally contribute content related to my personal experiences with The Bridging Principles™. I believe this will help me reflect on how they have served me well as a foreigner living and working in Europe, and hopefully offer some insights that are interesting and thought-worthy for you as readers.

To give you a bit more of my background, I’m a freshly graduated Master’s student who had the incredible opportunity to live and study in Germany for the past two years. My degree is in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design, and this educational program also offered me the amazing possibility of studying in Cairo, Egypt for 4 months last year. Currently, I live and work as a freelancer close to Linz, Austria. I am an U.S. citizen, originally from Maine.

When I completed my Master Facilitator training for The Bridging Principles™ last fall, I felt so fulfilled that I was finally able to give a name to all the skills I needed to survive as a Stranger in a Strange Land. The Bridging Principles™ show up for me on a daily basis, and fortunately, I feel I am now trained to use them to consciously to solve problems, as well as build stronger work and personal relationships.

When I first arrived to Germany, I made the (extremely) incorrect assumption that things would be pretty similar to how they worked in the United States. As some of you know, this is called naïve realism, and I was shocked when I found out that I needed an appointment for everything, apartment hunting as a non-German speaker was nearly impossible, and don’t even get me started on the mountains of paperwork required for university registration.

Fortunately, over the course of two years, I’ve found many helpful guides along the way. This includes my boyfriend, who is from Iran, and has taught me a great deal about different cultural dimensions, namely his own. Since he’s such an important part of my life and our relationship is a bridge across cultures in itself, he will be mentioned from time to time in my posts—particularly in an upcoming one about our amazing trip to Iran last year. Stay tuned.

Throughout the course of my blog posts, I’d like to offer you readers some more anecdotes of my adventures abroad and share some examples of personal situations I’ve had when The Bridging Principles™ were most useful. Of course, The Bridging Principles™ doesn’t just highlight the prominent cultural differences that can be found across different countries–it’s clear that diversity can even be found in your own neighborhood. But, I believe that we all inhabit a beautiful, diverse world, and I have a very special opportunity to offer my perspective.  I look forward to sharing with you all the gifts that I’ve been given from living in a different culture.

I look forward to sharing more with you soon!


About the Author: Dory Estrada is a Master Facilitator for The Bridging Principles™ and currently works as a freelance proposal writer in Austria. She holds a MSc. in Integrated Urbanism and Sustainable Design, and is passionate about environment, local economic development, and sustainability-focused work. She enjoys travel, outdoor activities, and all kinds of food from different cultures.

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