Learning without borders

November 13, 2015
Alisson Clark
photographer: Jordan MacKenzie
international education week, study abroad, globalization, international center

You don’t need a passport to benefit from a global education: Students who don’t plan on venturing outside the United States can still gain personally and professionally from an international curriculum, says Cindy Tarter.

Tarter, the assistant director of undergraduate academic programs at the University of Florida’s International Center, is excited to see students from a variety of majors gravitating toward a new effort to internationalize the undergrad experience: the International Scholars Program.

“Your whole life, you’ll be working in teams with people from very diverse cultural backgrounds. The ability to navigate that in a versatile and adaptable way is an incredible skill to have,” she said.

“It’s also a key piece of establishing UF as a global institution, one that recognizes the importance of global awareness as an important skill set for students as they make those next steps in their career path, whether they go on to an international career or not.”

ISP students take globally-oriented courses, participate in campus events and activities with an international focus, and either learn a foreign language or travel abroad to study or volunteer, creating an online portfolio of their activities and earning a medallion at graduation. They can also opt in to UF’s new Peace Corps Preparatory Program, which boosts their chances of acceptance into the Peace Corps through coursework and service hours in one of the Peace Corps’ six sectors: education, environment, youth in development, agriculture, health and community economic development.

UF is a top producer of Peace Corps volunteers, a distinction that Tarter hopes will be strengthened by the prep program, which is offered at 40 colleges nationwide.

Students who opt to serve overseas is a prime example of the Gator Good, she said.

“We’re in an era where climate change and poverty and war are all impacting us wherever we are. These students are recognizing that, as Gators, we can make a significant impact by serving resource-poor regions of the world.” 

During International Education Week Nov. 16-20, students can find out more about both programs at an information session Nov. 18 at 1:55 p.m. at the International Center. The week’s activities also include an exhibit of global photographs taken by students, faculty, staff and alumni  as well as images of the U.S. taken by international students  from the International Center’s annual global photography competition. (The photo above, “Mashambani Mwa Mwani/In the Seaweed Fields,” taken by linguistics student Jordan MacKenzie in Tanzania, is one of this year’s winners.)  

For a full list of International Education Week activities, visit https://www.ufic.ufl.edu/PD/IEW.html.

Gator Good

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