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Go global and grow

Photo: Professor Dogan Gursoy, front right, with WSU and other students and faculty in front of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. Gurosy is in charge of the Thailand summer study abroad program. (Photo courtesy of Dogan Gursoy).

It’s one thing to look at a world map and find Nanjing; it’s another thing to be in Nanjing and realize that, to the people who live there, it’s the center of the world.

“Learning about global issues in a classroom setting remains abstract,” said Andrew Appleton, director of WSU’s Global Studies Program. “However, combined with the experience of actually traveling to another country, it is a powerful enhancement of the undergraduate education.

 “Our students need to think in global terms because they will be navigating a complex mosaic of cultures in their future professional settings,” he said.

Appleton suggests three options for increasing global awareness:

Faculty-led immersion
Two dozen faculty-led programs are available in 2007 for students who want an international immersion experience of several weeks duration. These short-stay programs are similar to the longer study abroad experiences, which remain the “gold standard,” Appleton said.

The short courses typically are less expensive and less time-consuming alternatives to a semester or year of study abroad, but they still provide students with invaluable experiences. The faculty-led courses (ONLINE @ www.ip.wsu.edu/education_abroad/wsu-students/faculty-led-programs.shtml) have proved very popular. In the 2002-2003 school year, 11 students took a short-stay course abroad. In 2005-2006, that increased to 142.

Faculty interested in leading a program can find more information ONLINE @ www.ip.wsu.edu/education_abroad/faculty/faculty-led-programs.shtml.

Global studies minor
The global studies minor is modular in design, with three separate tracks that make it relevant to any undergrad. This course of study enables students to broaden their perspective, Appleton said, and to learn to think in a wider context. In addition, the minor combines well with general education requirements.

The minor (ONLINE @ www.ip.wsu.edu/global/minor.html) first was offered six years ago; five students enrolled in those first six years. Since Appleton began directing the program last fall, the number of students enrolled has jumped to 20.

Learning community
The global learning community will open this fall. Eighty undergraduate students will share in this new residential educational experience in Coman Hall on the Pullman campus.

“This is a new initiative that is really exciting,” Appleton said. “We are providing an internationalized experience both in and out of the classroom, with a linked set of courses within the Freshman Focus classes and intensive global studies programming in a new renovated common room at Coman Hall.”

The global learning community also is an experiment.

“We hope these students will study abroad, choose internationally focused majors and boost their satisfaction with WSU,” he said. “We’ll follow their choices to find that out.”

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