Taking global learning beyond study abroad
In early July a student who recently had returned from a trip to China voiced his opinion on Brexit. I was impressed by his knowledge of Great Britain’s current politics. He explained that during his time in China he spent a good bit of time with other expats, as he called them. “It’s no longer all about America,” he said. “I’m thinking globally!” What great reinforcement. We are doing our job.
Global learning is one of Appalachian State University’s major strategic initiatives. Appalachian graduates become globally competent through classroom and out-of-classroom experiences, including study abroad, as their personal and professional lives most certainly will include colleagues, clients and neighbors from different cultures. Appalachian believes this to be so critical for our students’ success that all of our global learning opportunities were coordinated into a Quality Enhancement Plan, which provides an assessment opportunity for our accrediting association.
Since fall of 2010 Appalachian has offered faculty-led education abroad programs in 52 countries. In 2013-14, under the capable leadership of Dr. Jesse Lutabingwa, the Office of International Education and Development (OIED) generated more than $4 million in externally funded projects to support international efforts on campus and abroad.
We are currently hosting the Mandela Fellows, 25 young leaders from 19 countries in Africa and three of our students were awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship this summer. Recently, to increase the number and diversity of students who study abroad, the Institute of International Education’s (IIE) Generation Study Abroad™ initiative selected Appalachian to receive $7,500 in support of new, study-abroad scholarships.
The power of global competency is that it is developed both at home and abroad. Each time our students and faculty travel abroad, and each time international visitors come to Appalachian, they bring knowledge that enriches our entire campus community. You can read engaging web features about a Walker College of Business trip to Costa Rica, led by Dr. Ken Corley, that centered around examining the coffee supply chain. Dr. Joseph Gonzalez, assistant professor in the Department of Cultural, Gender, and Global Studies led a group of 15 students to Cuba before the embargo was lifted. We have many more stories to share. Please visit our website daily – and join us in thinking globally.