Your undergraduate and graduate studies will offer you a chance to stretch your understanding of the world. This will not only happen in the classroom but also outside of the classroom, during your free time. Even if your program is small, you will inevitably meet people who are not like you. And that’s a good thing. Education is not just about what happens when the professor speaks; it’s about the whole picture, the entire experience, which involves the choices you make about the people you surround yourself with when class is dismissed.
Student diversity is a gift. At larger and bigger programs, you will likely meet people from metropolitan and rural areas across the globe—and both perspectives are vital for the melting pot of graduate school life. Many people in the creative fields—interior designers, architects, artists, writers—travel to other countries for this unfamiliar inspiration. In graduate school, the world comes to you in an enriching way. If you had a homogeneous perspective, it would be boring and one-dimensional and eventually, your work would reflect your mindset.
For students in less-creative fields, exposure to and embrace of diversity is still a great asset. The internet has linked us all. Your neighbors, really, can be whomever you choose to connect with online. It’s a global world and you will have an edge with your thoughts about effective international approaches to business, for example.
It’s important that you also realize what you have to offer. Wherever you’re from, you will have much to provide your classmates, too. Share a sporting event or offer to cook your favorite meal for a classmate—or just talk about a childhood memory.
Many students who attend graduate school leave more open minded than when they began. The rigors of studying with students from all over the country (and world) has exposed them to different cultures and mindsets and they are forever changed in some way. In graduate school, the world knocks; open the door.