Proceedings of The International Academic Conference on Research in Social Sciences
Exploring Students’ Self-Identity in the Context of Cultural Diversity at AlAin University, United Arab Emirates
Societies are becoming more culturally diverse under the external influence of new communication technologies, easier long-distance travel, labour migration, refugee flows and new transnational religious and aesthetic movements. Several recent reports have highlighted the importance of educating students for a diverse democracy. It has been found that interactions inside and outside the classroom affect students’ learning and the incorporation of knowledge about diverse groups in society. Nevertheless, there has been little research into cultural diversity among university students, a gap which this paper aims to fill by examining the influence of multicultural education on students attending Al Ain University in United Arab Emirates. It addresses two questions: How do students react to members of groupstheyperceive as different? How does the mixture of cultures affect their social identity and academic performance?Ten students participated in the study (two Palestinians, two Egyptians, two Sudaneseand twoJordanians) from various colleges at Al Ain University. Focus group discussions were used to collect information from participants. Theresultsshow that students belonging to different cultures react differently and that cultural diversity has both positive and negative impacts on academic outcomes.
Keywords: cultural diversity; social identity; work outcomes.