ASSUMPTIONS ARE IN OUR NATURE, ESPECIALLY STEREOTYPES ABOUT OTHER NATIONALITIES. HOWEVER, STEREOTYPES ARE OFTEN WRONG, AND SOMETIMES EVEN THE OPPOSITE ENDS UP BEING TRUE.
|Nina (right) smiles with her friends, fellow VIU graduates|
This often happens in an international university like VIU, where students’ perceptions of each other’s cultures change drastically over time. Before arriving in the US, students had different perspectives about one another’s countries, cultures, and living environments. As they meet, study, and even live together, students start to realize the actual cultural differences and life styles of other nationalities. Below are some of our students’ actual experiences. Follow along and see if your perceptions of other cultures also change!
Studying in a university with diverse students from different parts of the world gave me the opportunity to learn more about their countries and their cultural, educational, and social backgrounds. This is different from listening to world news or sitting in a class about international politics, world history, or cultural perspectives. I learned from natives of countries and not by listening to newscasters or doing research on international websites.
I have been exposed to diversity all my life. I was born in United States, but I grew up abroad. I received both my elementary and secondary education alongside students from all over the world. My parents are also from different countries. I chose to study at VIU because I wanted to learn from students and faculty members what it is like to be an international student on a visa and to try to make sense of what my father went through when he came in the mid-1960s on a visa to study in the United States. I found VIU when I was researching affordable graduate schools offering good MA, ME, or TESOL programs and which do not require GRE or GMAT scores in order to be accepted. Particularly, I choose the TESOL program because I had already gained experience in tutoring students from different countries through volunteer work and had done my student teaching. Marching with other VIU students at the Memorial Day Parade in Falls Church, VA, attending the presentation on Mongolia, and the Diwali celebration on campus, are a few of the university events I very much enjoyed.
I have learned from my classes to be open to a lot of ideas. I have also sharpened my teaching skills and learned to utilize resources to be creative in preparing lesson plans and activities for students. I am now confident in helping students to achieve their specific goals in using their English skills for the rest of their lives. Written by Nina Nwaobilo.