There are many aspects of studying abroad that will impact you for life. You have the chance to immerse yourself in a society that varies from your own upbringing. Understanding the cultural values of your host country will exponentially enhance your experience in any study abroad city. Diversity is existential and you’ve chosen to celebrate this by spending a semester abroad. You will return with a new perspective not only on the world, but also on yourself.
In 2002, the UN General Assembly declared May 21 to be the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Culture is defined as a specific set of spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of a society as well as art, literature, lifestyles, values, traditions and beliefs. Respecting diversity across the globe is indispensable for international peace and the unity of humankind.
As study abroad students you can support cultural diversity in many ways:
- Shop local for produce and cultural goods.
- Embrace the local language, cuisine and arts by becoming involved in your new community.
- Be a cultural ambassador for your own nation and contribute to the intercultural dialogue.
- Combat stereotypes and improve your own understanding of individuality.
- Be tolerant towards traditions that you may find unusual in comparison to your own cultural practices.
- Devote yourself to harmonious interaction among people of varying cultural identities.
- Spark conversations with foreigners and share your customs and views on life.
- Always be compassionate when speaking with someone whose mother tongue is not English and remember that you are a guest in their country.
As study abroad students, we are so fortunate to be welcomed guests in our host countries. How will you celebrate World Day for Cultural Diversity?