Toronto,Canada has been one of the most multicultural cities in the world and has attracted thousands of immigrants and foreign students each year mostly from Asian and European countries (Toronto, 2007) Due to the popularity of the city to foreigners as well as the prestigious schools it has such as the University of Toronto and the York University, students from different parts of the world have been attracted to study in the city.
Universities have been offering a diverse learning environment, offering curriculum, facilities, and learning resources including professors and instructors that address the needs of and accommodate the growing number of foreign students and immigrants in Toronto. A diverse learning environment offers various benefits to students regardless of culture and nationality. First, it introduces me to different cultures and race, making students like me become aware of various cultures and beliefs.
Having the awareness of different cultures of people in Toronto can improve my interpersonal and communication skills. “Hanging around people of different culture develop the students’ ability to understand the ideas and feelings of others, which in later life makes them, more likely to live in racially diverse communities, maintain friendships with people of different races and able to function more effectively in an increasingly diverse workplace” (Haas, 1999). From this view, a diverse learning environment therefore can eliminate or reduce racism and racist attitudes towards the minority groups.
It also can also prepare me to adapt to a diverse environment in case I have to work or migrate to other country particularly in Asian and European countries especially now that the level of globalisation is increasing. A diverse learning environment can also improve my ability of working in a team since in universities, there are particular activities that needed group efforts and diverse ideas that can result to a more comprehensive outcome, providing me various ideas that could have never been available if not because of my foreign classmates and friends and even professors.
On the other hand, there are still some people who are not open-minded and are not interested in learning about other cultures due to their very racist attitudes. A diverse learning environment with students or professors like these people can negatively affect some foreign students and students from minority groups, making them feel discriminated and unwelcome to such learning environment that may lessen their interest in studying or acquainting with students of different nationalities.
However, in Toronto, it seems not much of a problem because foreigners and immigrants have long been welcomed in the city. Reference: Haas, Mark (1999) Research shows diverse environment has educational benefits, retrieved on-line on February 13, 2007 <http://www. umich. edu/~urecord/9899/Mar22_99/10. htm> Toronto website retrieved on February 14, 2007 http://www. toronto. ca/quality_of_life/diversity. htm