College student success & leadership would not be complete without addressing the importance of global and cultural awareness. As a world traveler, I received a priceless education while living in Asia and Europe. My countless visits to Latin America and Africa taught me about the diversity of people and ethnicities.
In fact during my first trip to east Africa, I slept in a tent for two of the three months I was in the war-torn continent. I was so far out in “the bush” many children screamed when they saw me, thinking me to be a ghost. It was the craziest cross-cultural experience I have ever had by far. Not to mention, when I arrived in many villages, the natives gathered around me saying, “Mzungu! Mzungu!” (meaning “white man”). I later learned many of them had never seen a white man before.
Upon realizing there was no electricity in most of the villages where I would be staying, I soon realized why no white men had ventured out this far. Nevertheless because I was serving in a humanitarian capacity and equipping the nationals to pioneer a new path of leadership to improve the standard of life for their villages, I happily endured some physical discomfort to improve the lives of those I had come to reach. Yet I cannot say there was some serious sacrifices involved at times, particularly when I was food poisoned when I ate dried fish (which I assumed – a dangerous thing to do – it was freshly caught and cooked).
Upon traveling to over 50 countries and 6 continents, by way of being a likeable guy, I was often asked to speak at schools, colleges, and local universities. It was then I discovered my heartfelt passion to empower college students to achieve success, greatness, and assume leadership roles in society.
While living abroad in Asia, I lived extensively in many countries where I became deeply acquainted with Indian, Chinese, and Pakistani culture. These people continually amaze and astound me as to their industrious work ethic and profound intelligence.
Yet cross-culturally, living abroad was no easy task. However I learned experientially the difficulties and struggles international students face when tackling education abroad and embracing a different culture. Now when I speak to college students, international students specifically, I know how to relate and speak from the heart effectively. Experientially I have the know how and skill also to humorously disarm and challenge erroneous stereotypes American college students have about other ethnicities and nationalities among the international college student body.
Helping bring about a global and cultural awareness among ethnic groups and diverse nationalities is very rewarding. Seeing students embrace, forgive one another, make amends, and come together is the most fulfilling and dynamic thing one can facilitate and experience as a college student success speaker.
American college students (still living at home somewhat, at least in their own country) can never begin to imagine the difficulty of going abroad and living in a foreign country. Although Americans are very welcoming people, we also sadly can sometimes be a bit judgmental and ignorant when it comes to those throughout the world living among us.
For example, a common mistake is to think an Indian Sikh is a Muslim. Most Americans cannot tell the difference (physically or geographically) between an Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan, or person from Nepal.
Therefore I like to come into colleges and help bridge the gaps, enable students to better understand one another, genuinely interact face-to-face despite cross-cultural challenges, and create a family feel on college and university campuses among students of all ethnic and racial groups.
The Academic Pride of East Africa Making every nationality feel comfortable on a college campus is something a deeply desire to facilitate and achieve as I speak across college campuses in our nation. I take great pride and joy in empowering everyone from everywhere to experience college success. Cultural assimilation and diversity awareness, along with meaningful integration, is my heartfelt passion.
Listening to and understanding the global community and how to integrate skillfully into the international community and collaborate to maximize results academically and professionally is hard work. Nevertheless with humility and sincerity a global community can become family on every college campus so as to ensure the success of every college student regardless of their race, ethnicity, or nationality.
Building bridges and creating a global community within your college or university, will serve everyone well within the global marketplace of ideas and business. As we work together across national lines and borders to cross-pollinate academically and professionally, together we mightily enhance the educational experience and catapult student success.