In college you meet people from all walks of life and from many different places, representing all strata of society, nationalities, ethnicities, lifestyles, and affiliations. Learning from people who are different from you—and recognizing your commonalities—is an important part of your education, as well as essential preparation for the world you will join. Working in a diverse environment means:
Embracing difference and valuing others.
Volunteer with the Office of International Students and Scholars to help others while also maximizing the unique opportunity that MSU provides for your connect with others from around the globe http://oiss.isp.msu.edu/
Understanding one's own identity development.
We ALL have many identities! In addition to race and ethnicity, we also have sexual and gender identities, http://lbgtrc.msu.edu/, differing abilities https://www.rcpd.msu.edu/, and faiths http://www.religiousstudies.msu.edu/.
Recognizing one's own biases in order to minimize harm to others.
At MSU, there many opportunities to share and explore your own life experience while also learning about other. Multi-Racial Unity Living Experience (MRULE): http://mrule.msu.edu/.
Demonstrating commitment to diversity through supportive actions.
Discuss behaviors you find disrespectful with your Resident Assistant and Intercultural Aide. Report possible incidents of bias: Office for Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives
- How do you get the most out of your Spartan experience?
- How do you increase your comfort while living, studying, and working with people who are different from yourself?
- How do you enhance your portfolio to demonstrate your commitment to interpersonal growth?
Recognize your own uniqueness. Society has grown to appreciate differences in ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, religious affiliation, able-bodiedness, and many other characteristics that define our individual identities. Each person represents a complex fusion of these dimensions, and no two people have the same composition. Discovering the multiple facets that shape your identity helps you see the diversity you represent.
Don't be afraid to talk about differences. Dialog is the best way to understand someone. That means hearing what others have to say, validating their perspective, and being honest about your own ignorance. It also means demonstrating a sincere desire to learn what you don't know. Through open communication, people discover mutual interests and common ground, and they often realize there are more similarities than differences.
Learn by exposure. You can learn about cultures—including your own—through courses, cultural events, the arts, involvement in student organizations, participation in seminars, or even through your living situation. Nothing substitutes for immersion. The more exposure you gain, the greater your aptitude for dealing with others. The most important factor in a hiring decision, company recruiters tell us, is the ability to articulate what you've learned, demonstrated by your accomplishments in and out of the classroom.