Thinking Globally

A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community, or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

Recently, my family unearthed a home video on an old Beta tape from when I was three years old. In the video, I was sitting on my dad's lap with a globe in front of me, and he was asking me to point out different countries. "Where's Vanuatu?" or "Which one is Fiji?" he would ask me. Sure enough, there I was, pointing to the little island nations. Undoubtedly I promptly forgot their locations after learning them, because I certainly don't remember them now. But looking at that tape reminded of some of the unusual aspects of my childhood.

My father made sure that we learned about the most obscure societies, and vociferously denounced mainstream American culture. His theory was, if it's what everyone else thinks, it must be wrong. I can't remember a time when he was not constantly telling us how much better the Chinese do this, how much better the Russians do that, or how much more polite the Japanese are.

My sisters and I did not immediately appreciate my dad's cosmopolitan view of the world. Like most little kids we just wanted to fit in; we enjoyed eating at McDonald's and listening to pop music, not eating somewhere "interesting" (which invariably meant trying...

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