We are often separated and segregated from different groups of people during our lives, however when it comes to college it is probably the first time that our doors open to the entire world without travelling anywhere else. We are all diverse people with our own unique beliefs and world perception. In order to understand others’ perspective, their actions and behavior we should broaden our own and educate ourselves by experiencing diverse cultures. Through diversity, our conversations become more interesting that gives us chance to expand our friends’ circle and grow socially and have curious relationships rather than experiencing only similarities. Diversity expands worldliness; moreover, it enhances self-awareness as interactions with people from different backgrounds and experiences sharpen our self-knowledge by giving us a chance to compare and contrast our own points of view with others.
As a student at American University in Bulgaria, I have encountered many distinct cultures, different people and their visions that are so unique and interesting if we take a moment and think about it. I felt as if I was traveling around the world. I lived with 1200 people from about 40 different countries for four years; at first I thought the environment and the diverse community would be challenging for me, however, this was the place where I learned how to celebrate differences that teach us to enjoy diverse life and help us be more open-minded. Every day there was something to take in and appreciate our differences and similarities. The whole community was united as one and each of them felt so confident about each other’s uniqueness that they respectfully shared their knowledge and understanding with others who might have had stereotypical visions.
Stereotypes sometimes may be true, however, they are not necessarily negative. Everything that different cultures do differently has a reason behind it and unless we ask and learn about those we will never know. When we know more, we see more. Simple games, interesting activities, gatherings, and socializations helped to identify the accurate and inaccurate information we might have had about certain cultures and people. We gained a deeper understanding of people different from ourselves. Through each other’s diversity, we become better aware of our own cultures and our own world perspective. We become proud that we can appreciate differences and similarities of others; we grow as individuals and we learn how to embrace the uniqueness of everybody else.
In the end, we learned that “different” is positive and it is something to look for, learn and appreciate. Diversity enhanced creativity in us as it encouraged us to search for new information, new decisions that help to conclude with better problem solving as diversity simply changes the way we think and the way we function.
We learned from living in a diverse community as much as we did in our classrooms. Education is equally important in all fields, even if it is social and based on living experience.
By Irma Geldiashvili
August 24, 2015