Acquiring education compels one to study in various kinds of settings. Generally there are two kinds of setting in which one can study in. This includes a homogeneous environment and a multicultural or multi lingual environment. In a homogeneous environment there is generally one culture that is dominant while in a multicultural environment, people form different cultures are involved in the education system. Our setting at the American university of Sharjah is a multicultural one. This is because we have students from about 100 different nationalities. Our teachers also come from different countries and backgrounds ranging from USA, UK, Turkey, France, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Canada among others.this implys that learning experience in this university also entail learning about other people’s cultures and appreciating them. It is an experience of learning to stay with one another and appreciating each others cultures. The cultural diversity also plays a great role on my studies at the university. It influences most of the activities that I undertake in the university.
Being in a multicultural university calls for tolerance of each others culture. This is because different people have different cultures that we may not easily understand. Others may also find our cultures irritating. For example, in our university, there are many people who do not subscribe to the religious faith that I do. I have got to understand them and appreciate their culture if we are to stay together. Our university has a very good policy where we treat each other as a brother whether one is a Christian, a Muslim or a Hindu. We have to appreciate the beauty of cultural diversity as our strength. Sometimes our teachers find it hard to understand our cultures. But the fact that they also come from different cultures from us compels them to appreciate us the way we are. The mode of teaching is English and hence we are able to understand each other even though we speak different languages (Manning, 1999).
The biggest advantage of learning in a multicultural environment lies in the ability to learn and appreciate new cultures have friends from various cultures. I have learnt to appreciate their culture and I also engage myself in some of their cultural activities. In turn, they have also been able to appreciate my culture. However, our university is different compared to other multicultural universities. In some western universities, people are discriminated against simply because of their culture. People are not able to interact freely because of their cultural affiliations. Learning becomes a very much boring experience despite the fact that students do not learn to appreciate one another. This is obviously a vice that should be discouraged at all costs (Danson, 2008).
Learning in a homogeneous environment is a different kind of experience altogether. People in such a setting do not have the advantage of learning other people’s culture. However, this environment may be suited for people who fear indulging in other people’s culture. The main disadvantage with this kind of a setting is that it does not give someone the chance of appreciating the beauty of cultural diversity. However, learning in such an environment could also be enjoyable since people understand each other and cultural conflicts are less likely to occur (June, 2002).
Cultural diversity is a beauty and strength. This is a fact that needs to be appreciated. People should respect the ideas of a democratic society and avoid discriminating other people because of their cultural affiliations. An ideal learning environment should give the students a chance to accept other people’s differences, curiosity, creativity and diversity should be celebrated .in this way young people will learn to live peacefully and respectfully with a people from different cultures and religious affiliations. This assures us of a better society tomorrow.