International students comprise a vast amount of college students across the United States. Yet many colleges and universities continue to neglect these bright and affluent students who have braved the seas that separate us, come from afar, and cross-culturally integrated to obtain a higher education on foreign soil. Let us warmly welcome and embrace the diversity our international students bring, realizing their rich cultural heritage will enrich our academic communities.
To begin to cultivate good relations, let colleges begin with the way they welcome and send off their graduating international students. The worst thing a college or university can do, especially when parents and families of their graduates are present at the commencement ceremony, is to incorrectly pronounce a students name.
Undoubtedly fundraisers at colleges and universities take a great amount of time and endure some pain to agonize over the proper pronunciation of alumni when they seek a donation for their college or university. It should be no different when it comes to students graduating and celebrating a long 4 years full of academic and cross-cultural challenges.
Some simple secrets to ensure a successful college graduation for your campus of diverse students are:
1. Seek help from some international students and linguists on your campus.
Before being tongue-tied and shunning the importance of diversity among the student body of your college or university, solicit some help from your linguists and international students on campus. It will build bridges in your academic community, promote global awareness, and increase the value of multiculturalism for all.
2. Embrace global awareness as an ongoing academic discipline.
The world in which we live is -Radio becoming increasingly interconnected and global. Daily by reason of technology, the economy, and our environment the world in which we live is becoming interdependent. None of us are as strong as all of us. We desperately need to lay down our egos and selfish agendas to intelligently work together.
3. Model and cultivate diversity within your college campus.
There is no better place to begin to model diversity for the world than within our colleges and universities. Let us be the light where the dignity and integrity of every human being and individual can be upheld, expressed, and embraced.
4. Bring in a diversity speaker who has touched the world wherein we live.
Value experiential learning over academic learning when it comes to diversity. Diversity is something that must be experientially practiced to achieve a true global awareness and cross-cultural understanding of various ethnic groups.
Many speakers talk on diversity (some sadly just being booked because of the color of their skin), but few have filled several passports to travel the globe thoroughly to actively engage and get a feel for the global community. My suggestion is to bring in a seasoned diversity speaker who has traveled the globe and interacted extensively cross-culturally to provide in-service training for your staff, faculty, and professors to impart the heart and spirit to willingly and joyfully celebrate diversity on your campus.