Global Corps student group’s study abroad message for underrepresented student populations: Do it

Submitted by Anna Rzewnicki on Monday Apr 25, 2016.

Global Corps, a student organization formed in the NC State Poole College of Management in February 2016, has a very specific goal: to increase international awareness and study abroad participation among underrepresented students in the college, says Lisa Chowthi, an NC State international studies graduate student and the student group’s advisor.

This first Global Corps (GC) cohort is fairly small, as student organizations go, but the five diverse student members have a strong message – you can do it – for their peers. This message is based on their own positive experiences studying abroad or being accepted into an upcoming study abroad program.

“These five students were selected for the inaugural Global Corps group because we believe they can bring more visibility to their peers who may experience barriers to studying abroad,” Chowthi said in a recent interview with Poole Communications. Recruitment is now under way for students interested in joining GC in fall 2016.

Samuel Shain, one of the founding members of Global Corps, will be studying Reutlingen, Germany for six weeks this summer. In the future, he plans to study abroad for a semester at Copenhagen’s School of Business in Denmark. Shain is majoring in business administration and international studies with concentrations in entrepreneurship and global sustainability and development.

Study Abroad: a necessity, not a luxury

Shane’s perception about study abroad led him to join Global Corps. “I noticed that study abroad was being perceived as a luxury, when it should be viewed as a necessity for students that are in such a globally-oriented college,” he said. As a Global Corps member, he will be helping to spread awareness of study abroad options and how impactful the experience can be.

Accounting major Amelia Nicholson also will be studying abroad in Germany this summer, in the Poole College’s “Accounting, Finance and Business in the EU” program. She joined the Global Corps team to help underrepresented students feel more comfortable with the idea of studying abroad. “We have been working to find out why students aren’t studying abroad,” she said, adding, that [F]or a lot of students, money is what is holding them back.” 

Janelle Ward, another GC team member and business administration major, studied abroad in spring 2015 semester in Florence, Italy at the Lorenzo de'Medici Institute. Ward said that her study abroad experience greatly impacted her life and the rest of her college career. That led her to join the new organization so that she could help promote study abroad.

“[One] of my favorite things about Global Corps is that, though we're targeting the Poole College of Management students, we're also available and open to help students of any major,” Ward said.

Identifying financial aid options

One way that the team aims to help their peers is by identifying financial aid options for diverse students interested in studying abroad. The GC members are researching study abroad scholarships that they will present at an information session during the fall 2016 semester, helping students to see how studying abroad can be affordable. They also plan to host additional workshops to help students complete study abroad applications and create budgets based on country and program throughout the 2016-17 academic year.

“The people involved in this organization are dedicated, smart, caring and ready to stand up to ensure all students have the best study abroad experience,” Shain said.

The Global Corps is bringing value to its members as well.

Nicholson said that being a member is giving her professional development opportunities. Because the group is so new, she said she has been able to offer new ideas for outreach. In addition, the club is helping her build her resume. “When interviewing for other opportunities, people love hearing that I am involved in an organization whose main [goal] is diversification,” she stated.

The Global Corps team will be looking for new members next fall. “We would love to have some fresh, creative faces join us for the next academic, especially those who have studied abroad or those who have strong knowledge about foreign countries. GC is going to host some great programs and workshops that will boost the leadership and organization skills of those involved, so if you're looking to grow in those areas, come talk to us,” Ward said.

Those interested in join the Global Corps need to complete an online application and participate in an informal interview. Interested students should contact the Global Programs Office at Poole_Global@ncsu.edu.

Those who are interested can send Poole Global (ATTN: Lisa Chowthi) an email message at any time; however, recruitment will begin during the end of August. Diverse students who have studied abroad or have been accepted into a study abroad program, with a minimum of two semesters left at NCSU, will be invited to apply via email in August. Contact Chowthi at any time for more information. 

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