Sample Research Paper on Multicultural Learning Environments in Institutions of Higher Education


The global environment is a melting pot of many different cultures. Cultures cut across gender, race, ethnicity, religion and social status just to mention a few. The United States of America has the best higher education system in the world. Therefore, students migrate in to the US in search of higher education. As a result, many colleges and universities in the US are a constituent of students from numerous cultural backgrounds. According to Shaun (2012), the educators, administration, family and technocrats should come up with ways of addressing the discrepancies in success among different cultures to ensure high completion rates in higher education institutions. Many students can succeed tremendously in a multicultural learning environment. However, there are a number of students who cannot cope with the pressure as a result of multiple barriers such as language barriers, religion, gender and race which are the basis of the majority of the stereotypes. Cuyjet, Howard-Hamilton & Cooper (2012) succinctly puts forward that in a campus the cultural identities cut across gender, sexual orientation, religion and age, therefore, each student has his or her own levels of sensitivity, awareness and competence in a multicultural education environment. According to Henson (2015), the education system should critical reform and planning in a manner that it should factor multicultural education. Henson delves deep into the issues that affect the system by analysing various case studies and interviewing educators. This paper will discuss how the students of Saudi Arabia residence see multicultural awareness, knowledge and skills of other members in American-based universities. These members include faculty, staff and fellow students. To achieve this, twelve references will be analysed to develop arguments from their authors’ perspectives.


Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country. Therefore, majority of their cultures have a foundation and are hinged in the practices of Islam. Islam influences their dress code, interaction with other people, the food they eat and their religious practices. Furthermore, there are draconian practices placed on women. Women are prohibited to drive cars. Additionally, women are subjugated in their country and are considered inferior to men. The culture in Saudi Arabia does not support a co-educational environment. Men are required to enrol in separate schools from women. All of these factors put together may significantly influence how students who hail from Saudi Arabia perceive, interprets and understand the higher education environment in the United States. Majority of these differences and indifferences stem from cultural misunderstandings. However, Valencia (2012) argue that students from minority ethnic communities do not succeed in school as a result of lacking motivation, limited intelligence and a poor social background.

  1. In other words, are there unique forces and factors that shape the Saudi student experience in American colleges and universities?

From this perspective the unique forces and factors that shape the experience of students from Saudi Arabia origin stem from religion and gender. The United States one of the most modern constitution and laws enacted. These laws advocate for equality in gender and every citizen has the right to profess any religion that he or she wishes. The gender environment in the US is very liberal and encourages women to step up to positions of leadership and other facets of life. In the United States, women have great strides in the fields of education, science, corporate leadership and entrepreneurship just to mention a few. Women students from Saudi Arabia are likely to be motivated by these factors and strive to work harder in their education. Moreover, in the faculty, staff and fellow students, the women students will realise that women are well represented in class, instructors and even staff. These women enjoy these positions of influence because of their high levels of education. Additionally, American women are financially independent because they have stable jobs that pay them well hence they work hard to climb up the career ladder. Women in America have a high social status compared to Saudi Arabia where women are considered to be of a low social caste. Even though, America does not have the same gender parity levels as most of the European countries, women in America have equal access to opportunities such as education and jobs in the labour market hence have a remarkable number of achievements. In American universities some courses have a high number of women enrolled compared to women. Women coming from Saudi Arabia are much more likely to blend in the environment since it offers women the same opportunities as men. Santamaria (2014) argues that all the schools and universities should explore multicultural education and education and leadership to ensure more social equity in the educational spectrum.


  1. What are some multicultural practices that motivate Saudi students to develop and engage in American Universities?

Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh& Whitt (2011) argue that it is pertinent for education institutions to create the conditions that matter such as factoring students from diverse cultural backgrounds in order to ensure that the students achieve high success in their education. From the findings in the research, the women from Saudi Arabia were highly motivated from their experience in the American universities and colleges. Au (2013) puts forward that the attitudes, sheer will power and systemic change play a key role in a multicultural environment and have a strong influence in literacy achievement of students. The Saudi women took a short to blend in the environment. This was due to the high number of women enrolled in the universities and colleges. The women undertook their praying activities normally as a result of religious tolerance. The education curriculum of the US universities and colleges takes into account languages differences and during the first of their studies foreign students from non-English speaking countries are required to take a course in English. Blanchet-Cohen & Reilly (2013) argue that education environments should come up with curriculums that take into account the diversity of students. The Saudi women were highly motivated to succeed in this environment and they never looked back. The multicultural environment was not harsh to them. Majority of American universities and colleges have a co-educational setting hence the women learnt how to interact with men and women. These women learnt that the American culture provides equal access opportunities to women in education and jobs and they were not ready to let that slip away. The Saudi women also consulted many women working in senior positions in the faculty and staff on tips for successful careers and education. The women also learnt to work in groups with people of diverse cultural backgrounds. According to Sleeter (2011), the staff members of any university are supposed to be equipped with multicultural education in order to change how they perceive students thus increasing their productivity and improving their teaching skills.

  1. What are some multicultural barriers that prevent Saudi students from sharing the knowledge with others in American universities?

Language barrier was a major issue that prevented the Saudi women from points their points across. These women took the initiative of learning how to read and write in English and within a very short time they were on the right path.According to Popov, Brinkman, Biemans, Mulder, Kuznetsov, &Noroozi (2012) in their research findings from Wageningen University in the Netherlands, poor communication in English and also poor expression of oneself was a major challenge in multicultural educationenvironments.

The road to success is always filled with potholes and the Saudi women were no exception. They at times admitted to have engaged in fierce arguments with some of the students who were hostile in their religious practices. They were at times referred to as terrorists who have no meaning in modern America. These remarks and stereotypes built prevented the Saudi women from interacting and sharing their knowledge with other American students. They were frequently mocked on how they and there was a case of students trying to pull off their cloaks.Clark, Ponjuan, Orrock, Wilson & Flores (2013) argue that differences arising from gender affect various rates of achievement in education. Furthermore, he argues out that counsellors, administrators in colleges and universities should take into account the diversity of the student population, and collaborative measures have to be undertaken to address the varying gaps in achievement rates.



From the findings in this research paper, there are very many factors in the American environment that were identified as favourable for the Saudi women to succeed. They include liberal attitudes towards gender and religion. Apart from hostilities that the women encountered they did not back down from continuing with their education. Majority of the women had 100% completion of universities and colleges. However, further research needs to be undertaken to identify the plight of women particularly from the Islam countries (Middle East and North Africa) in their quest for education and their rate of success.



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