Why It's Important for Undergraduates to Study International Cultures
When it comes to preparing oneself for entering the workforce, or even for a career in business leadership or entrepreneurialism, there is a lot that needs to be condensed into one's study programs. For a lot of young people, deciding on a specialization or an industry to aim for a career in, is a big thing to ask when they haven't yet stepped outside of the educational environment. Thus, degree paths that aim to prepare people with broad and unilaterally applicable work and business skills, like an Associate of Arts degree, can be popular choices. These degree paths can serve as a first step towards earning a more specialized bachelor's degree later on, or can give someone a good preparation and the qualifications needed to enter certain roles and continue their professional learning on the job.
The Associate of Arts degree path contains modules that look at all kinds of skills and areas needed in most jobs, such as computing, leadership, physical wellbeing and math. However, one area where there is also a lot of content is on studying other cultures and worldviews in relation to work, business, and diplomacy.
Here is why this is such an important thing for undergraduates to be studying, and why more specialized courses could really benefit from including some coverage of these topics:
Offshoring is Getting More and More Prevalent
With so many companies now using offshore centers to handle different aspects of their business more cost-effectively, it can make someone much more effective at working with people who may be based all over the world if they are familiar with cultural differences. From knowing when the religious holidays of major world religions are and how these may affect scheduling, to understanding things about the day to day lives of the offshore workers you talk to, such as their local currency, cuisine, and culture. There are a lot of benefits to being able to communicate knowledgeably with coworkers internationally.
Companies can benefit strongly from collaborating with others in other markets, and this is also true in the public sector. For instance, when researchers from around the world collaborate on different studies. For US students, having a perspective that is global, rather than America-centric, can allow them to identify and form good relationships with peers around the world, rather than falling into the trap of assuming that other Western countries (for example Europe or Australasia) are culturally identical to them.
Even when someone is not dealing with other businesses, clients or collaborators around the world, there are many reasons why diversity in-house is beneficial to a company. The more someone has studied other cultures, the better equipped they will be to make the most of working with people who may live in the same country as them, but have come from very different cultures. Most colleges also have plenty of international students, so if someone is studying on campus as opposed to online, they are likely to have a better college experience if they have the opportunity to get to know more about other people's cultures.
It is certainly a good thing that degree courses like the Associate of Arts value teaching about cultures and different world views, and it is something that will definitely be useful to students once they enter the workforce, or even sooner!
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