For both of my years at Wartburg, I have been heavily invested in helping the school understand and appreciate the diversity that we have.
Everywhere you look around Wartburg, you will undoubtedly find someone who is in some way different to you. Be that the way they look, the way they speak, the way they dress, their opinions or anything else. You can find someone different around you.
But understanding diversity and how diverse our population is isn’t enough. You would be surprised how much you can learn if you take a step back and ask how much you are doing to include those who make this school so diverse in your everyday life.
Inclusion may be one of the most powerful tools when it comes to ensuring people feel welcome. As international students, we travel half the world to come to a school that is nothing even remotely similar to what most of us have at home.
We bring with us our cultures, our languages, our traditions, our celebrations, our happiness, optimism, religion, and so much more. We are more than happy to share these with everyone, but it can be difficult to do so.
While we are international students who have all of these different experiences, it is important to note that we, like everyone, are at the end of the day, students like everyone else.
This does not just go for international students, this is for all students who have a designated title that comes before being introduced as a student.
Next time you are given a group work project, rather than just going back to your friends as usual, try a new group of people. Work with someone you’ve never worked with before.
Next time you go to the Mensa either by yourself or with a small group, ask someone new if you can sit with them and get to know them. Next time you go to study and need help, ask that person in your class who may also be struggling, and figure it out together.
People often say that you should step out of your comfort zone, and I think this is crucially important, but imagine being in a place so different to where you come from that it’s hard to even find a comfort zone. That is why we ask that you embrace us in everyday life.