As it is common to interact with someone from another part of the world regularly, it is important college students are aware of other cultures when going into the workplace.
Whitney Longnecker, a Study Abroad director, said just because one is in a certain area does not mean one will only be working with people from said area.
“You are going to college for a reason, either to enter a career or profession, and I think the world we live in today is so interconnected,” Longnecker said. “For example, if you want to get a job and live in Texas, that doesn’t mean you'll only work with Texans. There will be other people from different countries and cultures that you will be interacting with every day.”
Technology allows for communication with people from all over the world, Longnecker said. Everyone is logged into one system, working on projects or in meetings.
“The more exposure we can provide our students now, the better prepared they will be when they actually enter that environment,” Longnecker said. “Everyone also makes mistakes, but thinking about that from an international perspective. If a cultural mishap were to happen, [it] could be the end of that job for you.”
To avoid students getting to that point, Longnecker said learning about different cultures and ways of life in college is emphasized as it gives students a chance to understand and ask questions before getting into the real world.
“The whole idea of preparing our students to be global citizens goes beyond Texas Tech,” Longnecker said. “This is definitely something colleges and universities across the United States are really engaging with and finding the importance in.”
Kimberly Boal, a management professor, said he has been to 49 states and is always encouraging students to at least study abroad or find an internship to get to know about other cultures around the world.
“If you look at all these companies, most all of them are multi-domestic or a global company,” Boal said. “They do business in other countries, which is why we need to study them.”
Boal also explained how, when he taught in China and Australia, he would help them understand the American culture. He said the students he taught in China had an American slant in which he taught them how to pick and choose what made sense to them within their culture.
Boal also referenced an old song by John Pizzarelli related to the topic.
"You've got to be taught before it’s too late, before you’re six or seven or eight. To hate all the people your relatives hate you’ve got to be carefully taught,” Boal said. “That’s in all cultures, and the lack of exposure to other cultures reinforces that you know what we are taught.”
Karli Guerra, a junior business major from Houston, said it is important for students to also learn about language from other cultures.
“I know some Spanish from my family and by taking classes in high school, and it really helped me land an internship because I'm bilingual,” said Guerra. “I take great pride in being able to talk to others who also may only speak Spanish, but it's interesting to hear about their life.”
She also said it could be important to be knowledgeable about other cultures’ traditions when in the real world with a job. One may not want someone from another culture to be offended by something one thinks is normal in the United States, but in their country could come across as offensive.
“I hope this topic is an interest to people because it is so very important to learn about global awareness during this time,” Guerra said. “It makes a person more of a rounded individual who can see a lot of different perspectives that will be useful for them for the rest of their lives.”