Celebrating Our Diversity
Between March 21 and 24, Sask Polytech will feature a number of events in celebration of Intercultural Week
As a globally recognized institution, Saskatchewan Polytechnic continues to attract staff, faculty and students from all over the world. The result is a diverse population that nurtures new ideas and perspectives and enhances experiences. This year, we're aiming to celebrate diversity through a series of events taking place during the first annual Intercultural Week, March 21-24.
For Deb McEachern, Medical Diagnostics instructor and Intercultural Week committee member, the celebration is about being able to discover new opportunities to learn from one another.
"Cultural diversity is a gift," says McEachern. "We can learn so much from one another. About our world and about ourselves. Celebrating and honouring differences is actually an opportunity to recognize how we're the same."
McEachern spent many years working in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and has travelled to more than 40 countries. Throughout her travels, she's learned that often cultural differences or language barriers are less of an obstacle and more of a chance to discover new perspectives. But, she adds, honouring diversity is also about recognizing how differences impact someone's ability to learn or teach.
"When it comes to our students, understanding different cultures can make us more aware and sensitive to cultural differences. We are a teaching institution - even just a little more understanding about another culture can make us better educators," says McEachern.
For some students, a little understanding can go a long way. Something Ethan Chu, a newcomer student in the nursing program, hopes can be addressed during Intercultural week.
"Some of the people here are pretty helpful - they are always willing to help," says Chu. "[Intercultural Week] can help local teachers get a better idea of their students' background and culture, so that they will know how to help students in a culturally appropriate way.
McEachern says that often the best place to start learning about one another is at the dining table.
"Everyone eats, and every culture has a fantastic connection to food. Eating together is a great way to discover how you're different and how you're the same" says McEachern. "The Intercultural committee is excited to be building a cookbook of recipes from Sask Polytech's diverse population."
The cookbook is a joint partnership between the Newcomer International Centre and the Saskatchewan Polytechnic Students' Association Inc., and will feature a number of recipes provided by staff, faculty and students from all over the world.
Learn about the Intercultural Week events happening in your area.