Our culture gets influenced by the way our society sees the world. Different viewpoints, along with the personal and professional experience of an international group of people, would offer new perspectives that have the potential to inspire colleagues to see their surroundings from different angles. Cultural diversity is certain because our country, workplace, society, and schools consist of various cultural, racial, and ethnic groups, and this is increasing day by day. We have the ability to learn from each other but in order to do that we should be able to understand each other’s diversities. Learning more about other cultures that surround us helps us understand different perspectives within the world.
Life at Home
Children are usually exposed to their own cultures at home first, and that plays a compound and omnipresent role in shaping children’s learning opportunities and experiences. In addition, literacy and numeracy interactions, within the home environment reflect, directly, parents’ views about their children and how they learn to read and write and how they acquire other skills.
While at home, I learned a lot about other cultures, traditions, religions, human behavior, and ancient civilizations from my sister who is an anthropologist. Anthropology focuses on the study of cultures, traditions, and religions, and appreciates human diversity. The more my sister taught me, the more enlightened I felt about other cultures and human behavior from old times until now, the more I became open to other cultures and other people’s views, and the more excited I became to learn about other customs, traditions, and ancient civilizations.
I lived in a building that had tenants from different nationalities and different religions. Casually, I would be invited to their houses for a meal or a cup of tea, and while I was there I would observe their behavior, traditions, and their way of showing their hospitality to me.
At school as well, I had friends from different backgrounds, and of different ethnicities and religions. Most parents restricted their children from interacting with other classmates, especially those of other religions. They considered it taboo to talk to someone from a different religion, and that, in my opinion, is where discrimination starts as children’s minds and views are limited to only one culture and one religion.
I believe that child’s minds must be shaped in the early stages of their life in a way to accept others with their traditions, culture, and religion. This will make the child more curious about the world around him/her and more accepting of other people, their cultures, and religions as early brain development has a lasting impact on children’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life.
During my study at an International School, I learned a lot from the people around me. I was open to listening to their different thoughts, and understanding more about their cultures, in addition to learning a bit of their language.
One of the benefits of studying in an environment where I was surrounded by a diverse mix of cultures is that it helped me learn a new language and that contributed to my learning of people’s behavior.
Although I was not fluent in any foreign language before, if you are someone who is enthusiastically interested in learning a new language, then the benefits of this will be apparent once you start your practical life in a workplace. There you can take advantage of what you have learned during your school and college time, especially the language skills you acquired while traveling abroad for business meetings and attending events. This skill can help expand one’s circle of friendship, and it can’t be achieved without interacting with different cultures and learning from them.
Students from other educational backgrounds aren’t exposed to a multinational environment on a daily bases. The importance of this kind of interaction is best for future policymakers. One thing I learned is that being part of a diverse community made me more considerate of the effect that my words might have on other people. In addition, being part of the International School was like opening a door to a whole new world to me. It led me to grow socially by meeting a variety of people, making new friends, and developing my professional network connections with people from different cultures.
Here are some benefits and positive impacts of studying in a diverse community which I experienced in my academic life
- It promotes growth and reflection.
- It encourages a sense of awareness and compassion in students.
- It allows students to feel unique.
- It prepares students’ minds to accept diversity in the workplace.
A diverse workforce hires people from all backgrounds, genders, ages, races, religions, and abilities.
At the Department of Development in Riyadh Municipality, where I used to work, there were many undergoing projects and one of which was the Recycling and Classification of plastic products. In order to enhance awareness within society, our team planned to conduct some awareness programs for children. At first, the students and their parents responded positively to it. However, I quickly noticed that some of the families showed negative attitudes towards this kind of program by arguing that the current system was easier and cheaper. That day I realized the importance of spreading awareness among people, especially, the parents as they are responsible for the new generation. If this negative attitude remained, then we would not be able to contribute to solving the global warming problem that is affecting every human being.
The recycling procedure helps to combat global warming by reducing the carbon emission percentage. As for the cost involved, I have realized that by adopting this procedure the manufacturing companies won’t need to continue producing these recyclable items using raw materials. Our team believed in the reduction of carbon emission percentage for the best of the planet, therefore, we continued our campaign to educate people about recycling programs.
As asserted by UNESCO in Article 1 of the universal declaration of Biodiversity 'cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”. I believe that diversity should be a major goal for every workplace, as these workers will have a different outlook on the world. They will apply their personal experiences to give exceptional viewpoints to benefit the employers. A workplace culture of diversity helps employees feel included, and this extensiveness helps break down barriers and reduces the fear of being rejected.
The following are some of the benefits of having a diverse workforce:
- Increased innovation
- Community connection
- A Variety of perspectives
- Reduced fear and improved performance
- Improve the brand’s status
Nevertheless, there might be some disadvantages to having a diverse workplace as some employees may feel that their perspectives on work-related matters are ignored due to the language barrier. In this case, such employees may stop sharing their thoughts because of this problem, which puts boundaries that decreases the benefits of approaching diversity in the workplace.
Looking back at all these home, workplace, and academic learning experiences, I believe that these experiences have made me a better, more open-minded, and more sociable person. After returning back to my country, I was able to learn things about an entirely different culture. I realized that I had been learning from a different perspective and in a different environment and that there is so much more to the world than we think. Your mind stretches more as you experience more about other cultures, and the best part about experiencing different cultures is telling other people about them. If one is able to explain the importance of diversity to people and show them how diverse the world is, he/she can help them be more open-minded toward people of different cultural backgrounds. The Local governments all over the world recognize that cultural rights are an integral part of human rights, taking as their reference the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)“. Being part of such a diverse community makes me more considerate of the effect that my words might have on other people,
In today's world, if we all are able to respect and learn about other cultures, and respect their values and beliefs, life would be easier for most of us, and we would learn a lot of good things from each other. I know that I have learned a lot in this process, and I continue to learn every day.
Living in a foreign country taught me how to face new challenges and overcome any obstacles in my path. It made me more courageous and bold, and it played an essential part in shaping my personality and nurturing me to be the best and bold version of myself.
Through a variety of experiences, I have altered myself to the best. I felt encouraged and inspired by the people around me, and now I do not feel afraid of tasks that will modify me and encourage me to be a better person.
- UNESCO, (2001). Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php-URL_ID=13179&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html
- EDUC 605 Learning, Diversity and Culture
- Assignment One: Personal Learning Stories:
- Log One: Relevant to gender, ethnic/cultural background, education levels, age/generation, and any social or political issues. 15th March 2020.
- What is the source? (APA Reference). It would be useful to add a sentence or two about the authors, and their credentials to ensure you are using reputable sources/authors or to remind yourself of the perspective they bring.
- DW News. (2018, April 24) Foreign workers face an uncertain future in Saudi Arabia. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Yb8dZi4Bq7U