On Wednesday, February 21, 2018 the C.A.L.L. center hosted Concordia’s annual Global Convocation. This year’s theme for study abroad programs is “fearless.” Lana Huberty and Matt Ryan, faculty at Concordia shared their experiences leading trips to China and Ireland, respectively. Students Anthony Herr, Brooke Steigauf, and Chelsea Wolf shared about their study abroad experiences as well. Each explained not only ways they were afraid before or during their trip, but also the great benefits of overcoming that fear, as well as things that helped them overcome those fears. After the speaker the study abroad trips for the 2018-2019 school year were announced. Before and after the speakers, students and faculty could talk to students who participated in study abroad programs, try foods from different countries, and get more information about study abroad.
One of the components of the Honors program is global competency. Study abroad is a fantastic way to fulfill this requirement and be immersed in a new culture. Just by attending the lecture, one gets a sense of the great differences in culture between the United States and other countries. The United States is unique because one can find many diverse cultures brought to the U.S. by immigrants from many different nations. Although all the children I am working with in my service learning site are United States citizens, they come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. In doing research for my paper, I realized that culture is very important for many people, and by incorporating culture into learning and the arts, children can create more personal meanings and connections. Learning about others’ cultures is a terrific way to broaden one’s own opinions, ideas, and worldview, as well as an opportunity to make new friends.
As a student hoping to study abroad next spring, this convocation was interesting and hopeful. Many of the students expressed fears that I am feeling and described ways they overcame those fears and the amazing results of overcoming that fear. The convocation reminded me of all the reasons I was first interested in study abroad, and why all the risks and fears are worth it. I think studying and traveling abroad are great opportunities that everyone should take if they are able, because they can change you and provide lifelong memories. Who knows, maybe someday I will be speaking at the Global Convocation!