How exactly is diversity reflected on college campuses? A diverse college campus means students come from a wide range of countries, have differing cultural and ethnic identities, backgrounds, religious beliefs, income levels, political viewpoints, sexual preferences and gender affiliations.
Holly Singh, executive director of the International Students and Scholars Center at Arizona State University, shares his thoughts about being successful global citizens. Originally from India, his decision to study abroad in the United States helped shape his view on the world today.
We ... we definitely share some critical issues that need solving at the global level.
Different folks do different things, and it's not right and wrong. It's just their own value systems.
And while you can read that in a book, it's very different to know it experientially.
I grew up in India, in New Delhi.
So, I was born and brought up there, and then I came to the U.S.
I would say that I am a product of two cultures — born and brought up in one, and attended college and truly came to age in another.
My own reflections on this is that uh, every culture teaches its values as absolute values.
So, until ... unless you enter another culture, you get very comfortable and think that the value system that you have, that the thinking process that you have, is absolute. That's the right way of doing things.
But all you have to do is go to another, culture and spend a semester or a year, and then you realize that it's very relative.
You could have a monoculture in a university, in a college, and education-wise it may work, but when you have diversity, when you have differences of opinion, when people come from different backgrounds, there is a certain intrinsic value that comes with it. You know, people are curious.
People want to learn, and when they see differences all across, they want to learn more about those differences. They don't think that the value system that they have is, you know, is absolute.
So, they understand it's unique, but they understand the person that they're talking to also has a unique value system, and they can have a conversation around that. I think that, that is central.
That they can have a conversation with somebody who has a different point of view.
While our students may have very different majors, if they get that global citizen part, and they understand it by having conversations with people from different backgrounds, or studying abroad, or, you know, joining different international organizations.
All of those help in preparing them to become successful global citizens.