International Education Month asks students to recognize cultural stereotypes

As part of International Education Month, West Liberty University’s international students hosted a student panel discussion about cultural stereotypes, an event supported by the Rollie Williams International Center. This event took place on Monday, Nov. 15, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m. in the Alumni Room of the College Union.

The discussion was led by two international students who asked the panelists questions about cultural stereotypes. The panel consisted of six WLU students, undergraduate and graduate students of different majors. These panelists were from Pakistan, Africa, Bangladesh, Italy and the United States. Ryan Glanville, coordinator of International Programs and Recruiting, also sat in on the discussion and added his own input. Audience members were also encouraged to share their thoughts.

The panelists shared personal experiences about times when they felt discriminated against. One experience that many of the panelists shared were adjusting to different cultural norms. The international students expressed that it took time to learn what is seen as acceptable and not acceptable in American culture. They felt that other people would judge them if they did not learn and follow the cultural norms right away.

The panelists also discussed how it’s important for people to see people as individuals instead of a stereotype saying people should communicate with the other person and give them a chance before making a judgment. The panelists also agreed that it’s important to learn about other cultures, but you can’t expect everyone to understand all cultures. Instead, people should have an open mind and feel free to ask questions about cultures they don’t know much about. The panelists also said that they believe that the media is the main source of stereotypes.

Glanville discussed how people automatically make assumptions about other people and that our brains are hardwired to stereotype. However, these assumptions can change as you get to know the person. Glanville quoted the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” as a way to treat people of other cultures. The panelists discussed how people initially stereotype people from other cultures, but they need the willingness to change their minds.

At the end of the discussion, the panelists agreed that discrimination and stereotyping can be reduced when you find ways to relate to other people and see them as individuals. The discussion concluded with the idea that we are all human beings who deserve to be treated with respect.

The Rollie Williams International Center was established in January of 2020. It is located on the first floor of Shotwell Hall and currently serves 71 international students from 35 countries.

To see the full schedule of events for International Education Month visit the international student’s page on WLU’s website or check your WLU email for updates on student activities. For additional information about International Education Month, email Ryan Glanville at [email protected] or email [email protected]. For more information on the Rollie Williams International Center or to contribute to the fund, contact the WLU Foundation at 304.336.5635 or visit