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Global Economic Environment

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Ryan Mulvihill-Pretak                                                                                   Professor Ballantine Jr.

Global Economic Environment                                                                            8 September 2015

Diversity and Globalization

        The word diversity possessed very little significance to me having grown up in Poughkeepsie, New York. Sure, I knew what it meant—anyone can define a word—but I certainly did not comprehend or experience it directly prior to Brandeis University. Throughout elementary to high school, I always noticed distinct and separated groups: the small group of "loud" black students, the even smaller group of "genius" Asian students, the two "weird" Jewish students . . . and then the majority of us "normal" white students.

        Now, of course, my viewpoint and terminology have both changed drastically since the ignorant and unaware 18-year-old me; however, I do remember acknowledging this overall lack of interaction between the groups, yet never initiating any further action. I must admit that coming to Brandeis brought an immediate cultural shock for me. International students from all over the world—some from countries of which I had never heard—seemed to overpopulate the white majority I had been accustomed to in my hometown. More so than just ethnicity, I discovered people of all different religions, sexualities, economic statuses, and beliefs. Overwhelmed by this diversity and lacking any direction of my own, I found myself wanting to experience as much as possible. I went to Rosh Hashanah services and fasted on Yom Kippur; I met a transgendered male and learned what intersex meant; I found solace in the few middle class students who were just as surrounded by what felt like an ocean of rich people; and I took part in a heated argument between Republicans and Democrats during the presidential campaign in my freshman year. Diversity was quickly becoming less of a word-for-word definition and more of a way to describe what my life had become at Brandeis.

        These past three years have made me a much more rounded, cultured, and frankly interesting individual. What I appreciate most about attending this unique school is that I am granted the opportunity to better myself everyday. I probably even still do not take full advantage of what I am offered here, but that does not mean I am not growing and trying to understand others all the time. Embracing or adopting a culture, one that is different than yours, does not mean losing your own, but rather it makes you a more educated person, and as a result your culture will become more thorough and expansive. Some negative people may not realize that their "normal" American culture is a portrait of numerous others, but remaining static with our own customs and background becomes tedious after a while. If there is nothing thought-provoking that challenges you, then you are not experiencing anything worth while.



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