By Yasmina Al Yaman, American University of Beirut
My passion and love for travel have always made me interested in understanding and learning more about cultures. Being a business student, I always considered myself to be observant, open-minded, and well-rounded. So, what do I still need to acquire? Isn’t this everything I need to know about culture?
It turns out that I am far from truly understanding the meaning and significance of culture. I took this course to challenge my knowledge of culture and redefine the meaning of cultural differences. I was able to do that through meeting new people and having an interchange of ideas and opinions with classmates from different cultural backgrounds. And what a reward that was! This course helped me discover my own identity and beliefs.
I’m Yasmina Al Yaman. Being Lebanese born and raised in Beirut, I never got the chance to encounter diversity and inclusion in such an in-depth way. I had the privilege of meeting people from different backgrounds, both Western and Middle Eastern; United States, Libya, and Egypt. My admiration for business in all cultures has grown significantly through the multiple presentations and cases in this course. Most valuable to me was an amazing activity with Dr. John Branch, the professor from the University of Michigan, where he presented his suit to explain the term “globalization” in this modern world. The suit brings together cultures from all over the world since it requires raw materials from over a dozen countries.
Having the ability to work in teams made me realize that the most effective way to appreciate each other is through understanding each other’s backgrounds and cultures to better understand each other’s actions. That’s why every group member took leadership based on their strengths and the situation faced.
I’m so happy how, in a short period, I got to improve my performance and knowledge, practice my skills which sometimes involves errors and mistakes. But each one of us needs to learn from our mistakes to improve in life. The B&C course was my favorite, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to register for it. Even during Covid-19, this course helped me meet new people from different countries. I highly recommend it!