Millions worldwide tuned in to witness the marriage of Harry and Meghan – a union of a biracial American and a British royal. But the big question is, will it last?

Odds are this loved-up couple will be just fine because both have what is called  ‘an intercultural mindset.’ They have an evident and deep appreciation for each other’s cultures and have shown the world they see power in bringing together their nationalities and ethnicities.

What is an intercultural mindset?

You’ll probably hear more about intercultural mindsets in the coming years. Along with traits such as teamwork, creativity and problem-solving, it’s now recognised as one of the qualities young people will need to live and work in future.

But don’t think that developing this mindset requires you to live abroad or marry a foreigner.

Most young people already have some sense of ‘world’ – social media takes care of that. In an instant, they can connect with anyone of any culture or background, in any country.

But connecting online is just a start to understanding and appreciating perspectives and ideas of different cultures, and even to challenging your own assumptions that may in fact be nothing more than an ethnic, national or religious stereotype.

 

How to develop your intercultural mindset

A university campus is an ideal setting to develop an intercultural mindset since it is full of students and staff from a vast range of cultures, languages, faiths, national backgrounds, and ethnicities who come to learn, teach, work and conduct research.

Victoria University is among Australia’s most culturally diverse universities, a multicultural success story that has served generations of new Australians in its heartland of Melbourne’s west for more than 100 years. Today, it is known as a microcosm of the world, blessed with a community of students and staff from every corner of the world.

VU’s Cultural Diversity Manager, Dr Teresa De Fazio says because of this, VU students can explore themes and issues alongside students from other countries who can offer distinctive insights.

As Marcel Proust, the French novelist, observe:

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new lands but in seeing with new eyes."

 

Why is cultural diversity important?

So why is learning to appreciate and interact with people from other cultures so important?

  • We live in a globally connected world with an increasingly global workforce. You’re bound to be working alongside or serving clients from diverse backgrounds in future.
  • Research shows groups made of culturally and socially diverse people make the most effective teams. Non-mainstream members bring new ideas that can shed a different light on tough problems.
  • Respect for cultural diversity helps everyone feel like they belong. Developing an intercultural outlook contributes to a peaceful, just, and harmonious society where cultural diversity helps to enrich and enhance society, not divide it.

VU's cultural diversity strategy

On 21 May 2018, VU launched its Cultural Diversity Strategy; taking cultural diversity to the next level with the institution-wide strategy that celebrates cultural identity and prepares students to thrive as global citizens.

Launched on the World Day for Cultural Diversity, the strategy formalises VU’s role as a leading multicultural success story that has served generations of new Australians in its heartland of Melbourne’s west for more than 100 years.

Read Victoria University’s Cultural Diversity Strategy.

 

Writer:  Ann Marie Angebrandt