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Cultural diversity is a staple of life at Langara

Students from over 80 countries study here, the majority are from India and China

Langara students help themselves to an array of Ecuadorian foods at Latin America Week. Cass Lucke photo.
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Reported by Duncan Anderson

Students travel from around the world to get an education at Langara College and, with more than 80 countries represented by international students, cultural diversity shows up both in and outside the classroom.

For some students, the promise of diversity is what drew them to Langara. Business student William Ieong said multiculturalism was an important element in his choice of college.

“One of the reasons I came to Langara is that it helped me to understand other cultures,” Ieong said. “How they connect to each other is really interesting if you learn their backgrounds or maybe learn their language too.”

Cultural diversity is apparent in Langara club culture

This desire to know more about other cultures led Ieong to the Langara Chinese Students and Scholars Association, where he is now the events administrator. He said the club gives Chinese students the chance to make friends more easily.

Langara students help themselves to Ecuadorian foods during a Latin America Week event. Cass Lucke photo.

Not all cultural events on campus directly aim to celebrate diversity. Jessie Smith, board member of the interdisciplinary studies department, said that Latin America Week, held earlier this month, was organized to promote the academic program but many students attended to experience Latino culture and food.

“One of our instructors and her mother cooked food [from the Andean region] for the event,” Smith said. “Some of the students who showed up had never tried it before and they loved it.”

Diversity, yes, but some students say certain cultural groups dominate

Some students on campus do not think there is as much diversity as expected though.

Kosta Kolokatsis, a modern languages instructor at Columbia College who is enrolled in the Latin American studies program at Langara, said that it is difficult to find genuine cultural diversity because of a predominance of some nationalities.

“If you want the cultural diversity, you can’t get … that in the classroom because there are majority groups and they dominate,” Kolokatsis said.

Nearly a quarter of students at Langara come from abroad, according to a report by the college’s Institutional Research Board using data from Fall 2016. Of those, 45 per cent were from India and 24 per cent from China.

Top source countries of Langara international students

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