Reflections on Diversity

We asked our students from East Asia and the Pacific what “Diversity” looks like on campus and in their homes countries.

What do you think? Here’s what they said:

“A two-month stay in Plattsburgh has enabled me to understand American culture more and more.  I’ve been able to give a definition to what “American” is and what makes America a land of freedom… I think what sets the diversity in America different from the ones in some other countries is that it is coupled with Democracy, rights, and equality. These components, I think, are what make America the United States of America- a nation where people have rights to give opinions in political actions, where many nationalities live together in peace and do not insult one another, and where a male student can wear a mini skirt to classroom without any one yelling or making fun of him.” – Khampheng Masyxonxay (Laos, SUNY-Plattsburgh)

“Well, for me, diversity has a lot of meanings. At first, I couldn’t understand diversity. But lately, I found how diversity is important for us. The thing I found out is that diversity makes the world beautiful and wonderful. I also would like to say that, because of diversity, we improve a lot in business, education, etc. We are different so we have to learn the culture of each other to make a win-win situation… In my country, we have much diversity and multiculturalism in race and religion. All are very interesting. When I meet with my friend from a different ethnic group, we talk about our culture and share our experiences and learn some words. I love that. It is the same in religion. We have different religions but respect each other… Some people are racist. I can’t think about that. They think that they are the best. In my opinion, I would like to say that only one color can’t make a wonderful picture but when we put many colors in a picture, it becomes lively and wonderful. For me, all are like flowers in a garden. All are important for the beauty of the garden. All we need is to decorate the garden of world with our beauty.” – Nyan San Kim, (Burma, Humboldt State University)

“For me, diversity is differences. Those differences might include nationality, gender, racial, religion, occupation, etc. I am sure that wherever we go we have to confront diversity, the main reason is no one will be the same. Accepting others who are different from you without discrimination or prejudice is needed in society of diversity. No matter what personal background you are, everyone has their own meaningful cultural background. Each culture or society has its own values, attitudes, beliefs and norms that provide meaning and important to diversity and multiculturalism… Before I came to study in the U.S I knew only a narrow definition of diversity and multiculturalism but now it seems like I received an eye-opening opportunity to see another community which contains diversity in new way despite to what already occurred in my country. My social perspective becomes more culturally diverse.” – Maynavanh Onevathana (Laos, Chatham University)

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