The International Mind
One does not have to belong to something in order to belong when we already belong to life. Yet those who have created a stable rooted existence can stop venturing as thinkers because the day-to-day routines and busyness of life takes over. Those that can travel can also expand their minds. One of the most extensive examples of the travel-mind relationship at BeBee is Dean Owen and his fellow travelers who administer the Cafe BeBee Hive.
I am not a traveler of the physical dimension but my inner dimension does engage a learning journey and so I get to appreciate travelers. The travelers in any college eco-system are those students who have traveled far in the name of their own education and development pursuit. No greater an example of this is found at all colleges and universities in the form of International Students. As I continue to explore the college ecosystem as a part of my offline learning journey, I have come across students who are interested in competition and now students who are international. Each community has their own identity and value proposition.
We live in an age where the political reality makes the life of an International Student a little more challenging rather than a lot more easier. The votes of Brexit and the election of Trump all signal an inward pull of nationalism, and so this has become a cautionary and insular time. The reality is that those nations that isolate themselves from the world create more problems for their citizens, then those who welcome the challenges of living in a global village.
When I engaged my first face-to-face meeting with Débora, the current President of the Sheridan International Students Association, I got to meet who I had expected to meet and that is a measure of the developing respect I have for the uniqueness of International Students. In my own Toastmasters club another International Student is grappling with where he will be studying next. The choice that Mohammed makes can have him travel anywhere in a 5000 mile radius. He is not a student who is leaving home to study at a distant college, he is a student who is making a home away from home while studying at a distant college. It is a totally different proposition to meet the challenges of study but also the challenges of a new country.
What I have noticed across all three campuses in our college that not only do International Students originate from a diverse array of different nations, but the cognitive and emotional intelligence of these students is greater than norm. Colleges and Universities recognize the value of International Students beyond the economic contribution they provide any institution, the pooling of this diversity into a college ecosystem has great value, yet the visibility of these students only becomes apparent to other students once they meet one-on-one.
Anyone who cares about the full meaning and dimension of the word "Diversity" should be interested in what the community I refer to as "The Internationals" is doing. As I move forward, I look forward to exploring the world of this community, the lives of international students and far more importantly the unique contribution each international student brings as individual being in their own right. No matter what the nature of insular politics is in the present age, to peer into this world connects us right back to the international mind, and how that contributes to our own thinking and perspective. I look forward to learning much from this valued group.