- Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Aureja Frolovaite ‘22 discusses the role of diversity and multiculturalism at Perkiomen in her eyes.
Coming from the middle of an already very homogenous country to the U.S., in Lithuania, I lived surrounded by blue-eyed, blonde, basketball-playing people who all spoke a language I can understand. The only time I felt out of place was when I was not able to reach the top shelf at the store, because believe me or not, being 5’7" as a girl is pretty short there!
When I got the news that I was coming to Perkiomen School, one of the first things I noticed on the website was the significance of multiculturalism and diversity on campus. I didn’t see this as a big change. “Afterall,” I thought, “I have traveled to 15 countries, I speak several languages, and even on Tik Tok I see at least a thousand different faces every day.” Even though I used to rarely see people who don’t look like me or come from a different heritage, I was confident that the experiences I have (mostly online) have taught me enough. However, the daily real-life experiences I have had this year at Perkiomen School have shown me the significance of multiculturalism both in school and life.
Without the obviously fun experiences such as trying snacks from all over the world and being able to visit your friends in foreign countries as well as having some kind of a celebration almost every single day, there are many more advantages of multiculturalism. “This seems like a United Nations meeting,” was how I heard people describe my classes and even my friend group. Funny enough, a lot of results correlate. Developing international friendships helps people develop greater empathy for the world by providing an opportunity for a first-hand conversation rather than an article one could only read. The amount of different countries and cultures in a classroom also hugely contributes to increased creativity. People coming from different places most of the time have different approaches to life, and therefore, being able to express these thoughts in a classroom result in ideas possible only with people with a broad range of experiences. What is more, these everyday interactions contribute to character development through learning and sharing experiences, habits, traditions, and even language every day. Personally, I have definitely become more open-minded, confident, and tolerant. Finally, sharing your own culture by having a fun, stereotype-breaking conversation or having someone try to pronounce your hardest word (if you are feeling brave say ‘nebeprisikiškiakopūsteliaujantiesiems’) feels awesome!
I think that Perkiomen School truly fulfilled the ‘actions speak louder than words’ mission by providing an environment where people get to meet and make friends and share experiences with peers from all over the world. Thus, when I decide to make a world trip, I will thank Perkiomen for helping me find the most wonderful and welcoming friends for at least a half of it.