A diverse student body on college campuses is extremely valuable to all students and their learning experience. There are so many benefits to being surrounded by people from all over the world. Not only do you gain knowledge about other countries and cultures, but you also learn more about yourself in terms of distinguishing your experiences from those of your international peers.
➙ Here are six reasons why a diverse student body is important to every college student.
1. Travel the world without leaving campus
Mark Twain once wrote, “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” The point being that travel expands your knowledge of other cultures and opens your mind to their way of life. But it is hard to travel on the typical college student budget. So why not choose a university that already has a diverse international bent? An internationally diverse college campus might be the first place that gives you the opportunity to meet people from different places in the world, so you can open the door to the entire world without actually traveling. You learn about different traditions and cultures solely through being surrounded by people from different countries. It will shed a light on religions, hobbies and backgrounds that you may not have been exposed to before, which is a very valuable asset to have as a young adult. Attending a college with students from all over the world essentially allows you to explore different countries without the hassle, and expense, of actually getting on a plane.
2. Expand your network
Making friends with people from various countries when you’re younger will help you, and make it easier for you, to develop relationships with people who are different from you. Interacting with a diverse group of people will help you expand the pool of people you can connect with. By opening your mind to the diversity on your campus, you will allow yourself to talk to people more openly about ideas, beliefs and lifestyles.
3. More prepared for a global market
While nationalism appears to be sweeping the globe today, the economy is more global than ever, and the business world recognizes that diversity is critical for their success in a global market. A Forbes survey on diversity concluded that “A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation, foster creativity, and guide business strategies.” To be a part of the successful diverse workforce, one needs to be able to relate to, and understand, people from diverse backgrounds. A diverse college campus will benefit students the most in terms of preparing them to enter the workforce with the experience of forming relationships with people from different backgrounds.
4. Expand your mind
Exposure to a diverse background will help you understand other people and their perspectives of life. You learn to be tolerant of other people’s beliefs and to open yourself up to different people. On the other hand, if the student body is homogeneous, you are not learning anything new from other students, and you will miss out on the opportunity to meet and interact with people of different backgrounds and ethnicities.
Your knowledge of other perspectives will help you solve problems and make good decisions, which is a skill that’s highly sought by employers.
5. Build your team skills
Even if your future job doesn’t directly expose you to the global market, you will need teamwork skills to thrive. Good teamwork skills include the ability to listen to others and be open to their ideas, being able to persuade others, and work well with others. You will develop all these skills when you surround yourself with people from different cultures, understand that people have different perspectives due to their backgrounds, respect their thinking, and find a solution that’s mutually acceptable to everyone.
6. Grow as a person
If the student body is diverse, you are constantly learning from people different from you, which may spur your interest in subjects that you may otherwise not be exposed to. You may pursue interests -- music, literature, travel etc. -- that you may otherwise not have known about and grow as a person. You will become more well-rounded, which will make you more interesting as a person, a job candidate and a fellow employee.
SEE ALSO: 7 Reasons to Study Abroad
Ria is currently a student at Sarah Lawrence College pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Sociology. She enjoys spending time with friends and family in her free time. She also has a bad habit of starting new tv shows at the most inconvenient times.