Information for Multicultural Students Studying Abroad
"Thinking globally must be far more profound than knowing that your car was made in Germany and your shoes in Brazil, it is a keen awareness that there is a world community, and as a citizen of the world, for better or for worse, your life and life circumstances are connected to and affected by that of your fellow citizens of this planet...We can not fully understand ourselves and the events that surround us unless we think beyond our own life, our own neighborhood, our own nation. As we anthropologists say: "It's scarcely the fish who discovers water!" You must get outside that water to truly see and understand it. Otherwise, "the water" around you becomes so habitual, so ordinary, so necessary for your life that you never intellectually or emotionally confront it. Consider how many of our leaders truly soared after they had experienced the realities of other people and cultures. When Malcolm X went to the Middle East, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., discovered the philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi something great happened for African Americans."
- Johnnetta B. Cole, Conversations -
Preparing for the global economy is not easy. The workforce of tomorrow that you will be part of after graduation will be more ethnically and culturally diverse than it is today. The College of Business Administration (CBA) strongly encourages all students, particularly multicultural students, to consider studying abroad. Participating in a study or work abroad program will help build strong credentials for graduate school or for a great job after graduation, and it will also ensure that our programs reflect the diversity of our campus and our country. Still not convinced you should study abroad? A good article on this topic is the “Top 10 Reasons for African American Students to Go Abroad” by Starlett Craig which is available for free on the Transitions Abroad website.
You may experience concern regarding whether you will be welcomed abroad or you may feel some anxiety about adapting socially and academically to a new foreign culture. You may wonder if you will face racial bias or prejudice, and what resources will be available to you in another country if confronted by difficult situations while you are studying abroad.
Even study abroad experiences where everything does not go smoothly can be a positive experience because you will gain confidence in your ability to handle difficult situations. Potential employers will often take into consideration your ability to thrive in a different cultures when making employment selections, and consider students with overseas study experience to be resourceful and have an adventurous, creative spirit.
Your College of Business Advisor and the University Programs Abroad Office on campus are available to talk to you about your concerns and help you prepare financially, academically, socially, and emotionally for a study abroad adventure. We hope you will find any difficulties to be minor ones and well worth the experience in the long run.
A great decision
Study and work abroad experiences provide you with the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. It helps you learn about your own culture through someone else’s eyes and to understand what we mean by culture. Many students find that issues they believed to be race based are actually cultural differences and this understanding has enabled them to better address and explain issues upon their return home.
The Global Business Institute holds the view that one culture is not better or worse than any other culture. Each culture has unique facets which can be compared and which, by living in them and learning about them, enables us to think more critically and empirically about the world in which we live. Experiencing a new culture often causes students to question ideas they have taken for granted and to consider new points of view. They also serve as ambassadors from our campus and our community and as a person of color, you can help to break down old sterotypes and myths and help people abroad understand what being an American is all about. It will also help you understand our own culture in contrast upon your return home.