One thing that our high school did not have was any diversity whatsoever. I recall only one person of color and no one for whom English was a second language or who had immigrated from lands far away. Our diversity was relegated to various religions, but only Jewish, Catholic, Protestant -- not Muslim nor Buddhist. I learned about dradels and bagels and lox and heard about Kennebunkport and the Hamptons and always ate corn that was only hours off the husk.
Even at college, also in Ohio, my exposure to foreign countries and the people who lived there was limited to lectures and text books.
Consider now the contrast with one of my fall classes at George Mason University. Thirty students spent the semester studying social media engagement and public relations. Andy was from The Netherlands, spoke four languages and was a GoPro-sponsored kite boarder. Mina was on the tennis team and would spend the Christmas holiday at home with her family in Turkey before returning for training. Sadly one student would spend the winter break in the dorm instead of with her family in South Korea. Tracy was applying for jobs at home in Beijing; Nik had already secured a summer job back home in Malaysia. One young woman was looking forward to continuing work with the youth foundation she started in Saudi Arabia. The American-born students were diverse as well, in race and geography, with students from the local area and New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and southern Virginia.
Imagine just how rich, varied and deep were our discussions on Trump's call to ban Muslims, on the shootings in San Bernandino, Black Lives Matter and the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage. With our diverse backgrounds come diverse analyses. There were so many moments when we paused because someone had said something that just made us think and re-think. As a diversity university, Mason delivers a broad world view to its students. And, to its professors.