The World is Flat

The World is Flat

Thomas L. Friedman boldly proclaims that the world is flat. I couldn’t agree more. I sit here in class among a great collection of diversity. It boggles my mind to think that a program of 120 students could have such cultural and linguistic variety. In the little family that is the GSM, dozens of countries are represented. Over twenty different languages are spoken. Ten students speak three or more languages.

Yet we are all united by a common purpose. Our drive and dedication to pursue higher education so that we can become more influential and impactful members of society brings us under the same roof. Besides our obvious thirst for knowledge, we are also unified by a sense of responsibility to one another – to be upright citizens and socially conscious human beings.

With these notions, how can I not agree that the world is indeed flat?

However, the subsequent question is, “How do we achieve such flatness?” The world isn’t a giant piece of fabric that only takes a couple of hands to smooth over and level any unwanted bumps. It’s not as simple as pulling out an iron and ironing board. Flattening the world is not an accidental procedure. It is, in fact, quite the contrary. It is through hard work and purposeful intent that the GSM achieves flatness.

Our admissions office consciously pursues international applicants, looking to further the diversity and body of experience at the school. Exchange students frequent the program and share their lives, ten weeks at a time with our student body. But the most heart-warming part of this intentional process is the personal dedication put forth by individual students at the GSM to welcome and foster this sense of global flatness.

Although our foreign students are genuinely excited to come to UC Davis, it is understandably intimidating to cross international boundaries in search of new experiences. Family, friends, and a different way of life are left behind to spend time at the GSM. Even though the transition might be logistically complicated, I have the pleasure of witnessing my classmates reaching out to ease the process.

My classmates and I have compiled a list of languages spoken at the GSM to assist our incoming international students in their native tongue. Apartments and rooms for rent are not only posted, but individually offered to these new students. Personal e-mails are traded back and forth from the moment of acceptance and admission to give students making a distant move a friend before they ever step foot on campus. And of course, in grand GSM style, we throw our new friends a party they won’t soon forget.

I am excited that the GSM world is intentionally flat. I am even more pleased that I am surrounded by people who are interested in making it flatter.