There is no doubt about it. Florida Tech holds one of the most diverse student bodies in higher education. With over 60,000 alumni from over 120 different countries, we have ambassadors all over the globe. Currently more than 30 percent of the student body comes from 101 other countries. Compare this to a 12 percent international student population at University of Florida, and you can already see that direct interaction with other cultures is leaps and bounds higher at our fine institution of higher learning.
Growing up, I attended the Greater Hartford Academy of Math And Science (GHAMAS) in Hartford, Conn. This school accepted students from many different towns around the state’s capital and hosted an intimate learning environment for the sciences and mathematics. As is the case with all STEM education systems, mine fostered a very ethnically diverse student body. This was a stark contrast to the predominantly middle-class caucasian high school I went to in my home town. I found the diversity at GHAMAS to be a breath of fresh air that allowed for the dissolution of groupthink and stringent social stratification. There were no minorities because we were all so different from each other.
It’s because of my time at GHAMAS that I decided to pursue International Business rather than the standard Business Administration program. I had developed a love for discovering and interacting with different cultures and practices. Upon visiting Florida Tech, I saw just how diverse the campus was, my tour guide was from the Caribbean, the roommates of my friends on campus were from Nigeria, China and Dubai. Diversity surrounded me and everyone had a story to tell; everyone had a different outlook on how to approach life. I was hooked.
Taking classes with people from outside the United States has truly been an experience. While other schools would have you do case studies on how to properly interact with business men and women from different cultures, Florida Tech allows you the opportunity to get face-to-face interactions with people from those countries to learn the intricacies of doing business with their part of the world. Often times we would be learning with one of those case studies I mentioned earlier, but we would all have the margins filled with corrections and notes given to us by our classmates that were from that area and knew exactly how one should interact with them.
Due to our small class sizes, our coursework often involved group projects. These groups would more often than not be chosen by our professor and would include as diverse a group as possible. It was amazing to see the different group dynamics and how they played out. Depending on where the person was from, they would have different opinions on the severity of tardiness, amount of effort that should be expended and my personal favorite, the acceptance of plagiarism. Learning how to interact with other cultures is part of the growth you can expect to experience in today’s work place and if you can begin to develop those skills early on, you’ll be in a great place to advance past your peers.
Featured Photo Caption: Pictured here is the 2013-2014 Executive Board for Delta Mu Delta the International Business Honor Society. On it, we had members from the US, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria.