Nowadays, an increase in cultural diversity is a reality in most societies, first of all, because of the process of globalization and growing migration rates. It is also reflected in educational settings, such as colleges and universities. There is a need to approach cultural diversity to give students a sense of belonging and make them feel welcome. The quality of the learning environment is crucial to secure academic progress, including progress in public administration education. The purpose of this essay is to consider the role of cultural diversity within a Public Administration program.
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Concept of Cultural Diversity
Cultural diversity is culturally embedded variations within society. It is also about how two or more people communicate and the way they do it based on their cultural differences. Cultural diversity covers many differences concerning behavior, attitude, values, beliefs, gender, and status variations. It is globalization that has influenced many people’s perspective of cultural diversity and its importance. Globalization contributes to blurred boundaries of national cultures and the formation of a global culture that makes simplify the communication process between people of various cultures.
Importance of Cultural Awareness in the Educational Process
The Public Administration program is an opportunity to reconsider position in relation to cultural diversity. Speaking of me, it has helped many to understand that people need to be aware of their biases and the fact that everyone has them. I need to recognize that some of them are intentional, some of them are unintentional, and it is a matter of understanding what those biases are. Therefore, it is essential to promote a multicultural approach.
This approach focuses on accepting other cultures and respecting their variations. During the studies, a multicultural approach has been expressed in encouraging international students to express their uniqueness. Moreover, any offensive comments and mockery on cultural differences have been condemned, thereby making students take cultural differences as a positive and self-evident idea. It is crucial to apply equality and non-discrimination in a learning process because it may help everyone to be more strongly oriented towards a majority culture, be better adjusted, and have better well-being.
Through the interaction with students from different cultural and social backgrounds, I have become aware that diversity can be seen as a resource of something positive that can be enriching for all of the students. For example, it may help to pay more attention to the cultural heritage and to derive self-esteem from that. Therefore, it is essential to not only to prevent the adverse outcomes of diversity and reduce discrimination but also to allow cultural diversity to enrich the learning experience of everybody.
Since there are many international students in my university, I have become more tolerant of differences among other cultures. Various events, such as culture days, seminars, and workshops on the theme of cultural differences and multiculturalism, have contributed to this understanding. Spending time with people of different cultural backgrounds outside the university has also helped to create an atmosphere of trust.
Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity
From an educational organization’s perspective, it is important to able to communicate effectively with other classmates, teachers, faculty staff, as well as administration. Thanks to the Public Administration program, I have understood that there are numerous benefits of cultural diversity. One of the most significant advantages is that it often leads to innovation. I have observed that when I work with students from the same background, there are few new ideas.
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However, when I do a project with students from various cultures, there are many extraordinary ideas. Therefore, it should be pointed out that diversity can “increase the amount of ideas that are available for input, and helps individuals to see the same problems from multiple perspectives” (Vezzali et al. 154). Now I am convinced that working on a project with classmates from multiple backgrounds leads to innovation.
There are some challenges with cultural diversity in the educational process. Studying at the Public Administration program helps to recognize these challenges and overcome them. One of the difficulties is connected with the problem of misunderstanding. In a different learning culture, the approaches of students and teachers to learning can be different. I have noticed that international students usually are comfortable with their familiar ways of learning; therefore, they are often puzzled or feel threatened by people of different cultural backgrounds, which perhaps has a negative effect on learning.
Helping them to adapt to a new culture by having a conversation is usually an effective method of making them feel comfortable. Furthermore, the helpful attitude and friendliness of the university’s teachers and administrative staff also help many students. Meetings and events organized by teachers and staff have contributed to a decrease in negative emotions within a group. Greater awareness of cultures usually produces positive outcomes for everybody.
Each person prefers to communicate with people who have the same views and interests; therefore, people feel more comfortable in a homogeneous group than in a heterogeneous one. However, in everyday life we are faced with the need to interact with representatives of various cultural groups, so diversity and pluralism are relevant concepts in the modern world. The education system should promote cooperation and mutual understanding between people, regardless of national, racial, religious, ethnic, and social affiliations. The Public Administration program provides an opportunity to broaden knowledge of cultural diversity.
It encourages one to promote the realization of the right to freedom of beliefs and thoughts. Teachers, students, and workers of educational institutions have to contribute to the formation of tolerance in heterogeneous groups and encourage friendly relationships between people belonging to different national-cultural, religious, and, social communities.
Vezzali, Loris, et al. “On the Relationship Between Cultural Diversity and Creativity in Education: The Moderating Role of Communal Versus Divisional Mindset.” Thinking Skills and Creativity, vol. 21, 2016, pp. 152-157.