The international students of Quinnipiac
By Beverly Wakiaga
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ‘diversity is the condition of having or being composed of differing elements, especially the inclusion of different types of people (such as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.’ For many people, this looks different. American diversity is thought of in a different way than the diversity in other countries. This is what some international students at Quinnipiac thought of diversity before they came to Quinnipiac and how that has changed in their time here.
My idea of diversity was cultural as opposed to racial. It was based on what country you were from. It wasn’t really visual, it was either what country ... if I was in Nigeria what ethnic group or class to an extent too. Like how many different people from financial backgrounds. It wasn’t racial until I came to America, to be honest. Now, (diversity) is everything: sex, gender, race, sexuality, disability. It’s everything. My spectrum of diversity is very open now.
Diversity was like a taboo, everybody knew about it. Everybody was aware that we should respect each other. Maybe it’s because I went to a majority white high school, they didn’t have a lot of diversity activities like we do in Quinnipiac because it was just a high school. I saw a lot of segregation, only Asian people hang out with Asian students. So, before I came here I was like there are still solid lines between races and I didn’t like that. Now, it’s a gift. What I realized is that we have a lot of common things, we share something in difference. I think that’s just amazing if you just think of it, we find each other similar or the same in difference like of cultural backgrounds, race. I see a lot of possibilities in diversity.
Zhouqi Helen Dong,
International business and computer information systems
I think it’s just people from different backgrounds, cultural backgrounds, different skin color that all work well together. I feel like my (high) school didn’t really have that, my high school was pretty white, I was the only Asian kid in my entire school.
Computer information systems
I don’t think I had an idea before coming here. I’ve always been surrounded by majority black people so I always thought that was a thing everywhere else. I thought there would have been an equal population and an equal distribution of population. At Quinnipiac, I would say my idea of diversity doesn’t really encompass race and stuff like that. It goes more towards different people who think differently. I feel like a lot of the students at QU have this one mindset, most of them not all, that if it doesn’t affect me then it doesn’t matter.
Diversity has been very instilled in me. I’ve lived in many countries where people of color would be the majority but the schools I would go to would be 50 percent white people and then 50 percent the minority ... When I was in these different international schools, if it was anything cultural, no matter what country, culture or ethnic background you’re from you’d still want to go to it. Whereas in Quinnipiac, it’s like if you have anything with multicultural, it’s like, “Oh, it’s only for people of color not for white people.” I didn’t think it would be such a struggle to get people to understand why diversity is important ... (My idea of diversity now is) people of all races, all ethnicities, countries, backgrounds, religions are eager to learn about each other, even if they disagree on things, they are still eager to learn about other cultures or factions in which they reside in. Diversity of thought, diversity of opinion.
Xinyu Olivia XU,
Computer information system
Before Quinnipiac I didn’t really have an idea of diversity because I was born and grew up in a small city for 18 years. People, especially my friends, have similar backgrounds, similar family (structure). Their family either work for a company or government, and were the only child in family. We don’t really have diversity things. All my friends are pretty similar.I had a lot of culture shock during the first two years. I think for now, diversity is you should accept yourself, then you accept the others. If you will not admit that you’re different from them, you will not accept what the difference is. You will not recognize what that is.
Journalism and English
My high school was an international school, it was not just diversity in race but also nationality and ethnicity. It was also in dialects, in the way that people talk. So I saw diversity a lot in my high school and it was really nice because everyone was kind of on the same level that they are away from home and they bring different things to the table. No one judges anyone and it’s fascinating, everything is new. It’s just different race, different nationality and they speak differently and a lot of tolerance. In Quinnipiac, I learned more about genders and sexuality because I don’t think that was offered a lot in my high school. It’s not black and white, it’s not just the color of your skin but it’s also who you are, who do you identify yourself as and what do you like.