I am trying to get into a association on campus, known as the Business Diversity and Leadership Association (BDLA) and this was one of their essay questions:
“Describe a time in your past in which you were confronted with and positively experienced diversity. Please be specific.”
And, here is my response, which I felt appropriate for you guys to know a little about my experiences with diversity, and culture:
Last semester, I had an internship in Omaha, Nebraska, working for a large company. I lived on the University of Nebraska – Omaha Campus, with three other girls, who I was randomly assigned. I lived with Nyochat, Min, and Yunghee. Nyochat was from Green Island, Nebraska, about two and a half hours west of Omaha, but she was born in South Sudan. Min and Yunghee were from South Korea, and were studying abroad that semester to learn and improve their English. During the semester, the four of us did things as roommates, Nyochat and I tried to show Min and Yunghee the “American” lifestyle.
Through autumn, Min and Yunghee also showed us traditional Korean dishes and celebrations. They shared with me how they are embarrassed by the American’s ignorance: when Min and Yunghee say they are from Korea, and people ask “form North or South?”, “Isn’t it obvious?” they reply that they would be from South Korea, since only a few select people have escaped from North Korea in the last 60 years. They think it is a shame that more American’s do not know the history of their own country and that of other countries.
Nyochat brought in her family traditions from South Sudan as well; she showed us local music, food, and dishes which she loved to cook. Nyochat told us about growing up in her family, which still was very influenced by South Sudan culture, yet also Americanized as well, and the struggles she dealt with living in a predominately-white community. She also informed with me that African’s and African-American’s don’t normally get along with each other, that is people who were brought over in the slave-trade many years ago from Western Africa, and those who have come to America within this generation on their own. I had heard this amongst society, but never observed it in first-person; I enjoyed learning about why the two cultures clash and what she had to say about them, and their cultural differences.
From living with such a diverse group of women, in such a “white” community, I grew in many ways personally during my time in Omaha. I realized what it must be like for somebody of distinct minority, in everyday life to be stared at because of the color of their skin, the language they spoke, and the way they dressed. I also learned, that people love America for our diversity, and my South Korean roommates really admired how we truly do have people from all over the world living in America, and although, we may still have some major issues to iron out, it is encouraging that we are so accepting of multi-cultural people coming to live in our country.
I want you to think about what diversities that you’ve encountered in your life, and also what you may be prejudice about in your life. Everybody is prejudice in their own way, whether it be from ethnicity, gay & lesbian, how somebody looks, where somebody is from, the music they may listen to, how in shape or unfit somebody is. Think about it and we’ll talk about these things next week! Please post a comment about it, as it’s anonymous!