It really is a small world after all, but how diverse is it? Diversity may be the most overused adjective to describe our country, culture and university, but can it be used to describe our relationships? There are so many aspects of culture we learn in our classrooms, from forced presentations and speakers or by attending events for extra credit. Globalization is a force that is front-and-center of our daily lives and lurks like a dark cloud over our future.
“When I interned at Disney, I met so many different people from all over the world. It was something I could never forget. I still talk to people all over and get the chance to visit,” Jill Taylor, senior fashion design major, said.
We hear the benefits of studying abroad from our professors but it’s hard to argue that those are the only benefits. Students are students and, more importantly, human and in the end that is really what we have. Branching outside our friend groups and our comfort zones is how we grow, learn and build strength. While I may be biased as an international studies major, I believe that learning about others that are different from us is not all that scary. Understanding other cultures and lifestyles does not mean you have to experience them firsthand.
“Learning about other cultures is really important and interesting. It’s something we don’t really notice but there are so many different people out there,” Katy Basel, senior criminal justice major, said.
People are people regardless of their ethnicity, nationality or background and while it may not be the most comfortable thing to do, meeting new people opens closed doors and those doors aren’t thousands of miles away.
This Saturday, Georgia Southern University’s annual International Festival will take place at Mill Creek Park. The festival will feature a global village where students will have the opportunity to learn about other countries around the world through educational booths run by GSU Global Ambassadors and middle and high school students from surrounding areas. The festival will feature tastes from around the globe, as well as entertainment in dance and music. Students from over ninety countries will participate in the event making, it slightly difficult to avoid meeting someone outside the U.S.
While International Fest will pass, GSU offers lasting opportunities to get involved. The Multicultural Student Center offers students plenty of chances to get involved while also providing students cultural enlightenment all year long. Our campus also has a variety of specialty departments that focus on specific groups such as the Center for Irish Studies and Africana studies. Many departments sponsor events pertaining to language classes offered at Georgia Southern to give students opportunities to experience different parts of the culture outside the classroom. There are other departments all over campus that encourages students to participate in cultural understanding all year long. Many of the countless clubs that GSU has to offer are geared towards creating lasting cross-cultural and cross-boundary relationships. If you’re looking for simplicity, it is possible that you share a class with a student from outside the U.S. What can be the harm in striking up small talk?