By: Rashad Bishop
Thorobred News Writer
I had the privilege to interview Dr. Cynthia Shelton who is the Associate Professor; Coordinator of Africana and International Studies and Ms. Karen Brown who is the Administrative Assistant of Academic Affairs and the Whitney Young School of Honors and Liberal Studies.
I wanted to get their statements and views on the Study Abroad Fair that was held on January 31, 2017.
RB– How strong do you feel that the study abroad program is on our campus?
KB– Well I think because we’re just starting to rebuild the study abroad department that we have on campus since 2011. So I think it’s going to take us a little while to get it built back up, but we’re hoping through the honors program will try to require that students for abroad will interest other students in going abroad as well, we’re going to be the Hub for all the university study abroad. So I think that right now we’re at the fledgling stage, but it’s very promising we have great people in place, we have great students, and just be a matter of trying to break down some of the barriers and fear that some of the students have of flying for the first time. Maybe leaving home for the first time or just being in a strange place, so I think it’s going to take time, but once we get a couple through that program and they report back on what a great opportunity it was and once we continue to expose them to many little trips inside the states and around that they’ll in peak their interest to do more.
RB– What do you want the students to do when they go to study abroad?
KB– I want them to be fully immersed in the culture. I don’t want them to just go to class and go back to their room. I want them just as engaged, immersed in that culture as they are here in the states. Go to the grocery store, walk to the park, go into a church, go into a castle, see what the culture does, eat the food, and see how people live. You have to be cautious about your surroundings just like you would here. But I want them to be fully emerged so they can get it. Hear the language, see the babies, and see the flowers they grow in the field. Be able to be fully emerged so you can see another culture, living under somebody else and under another set of stars, just to see how that all is. That is an experience you’ll take with you and it’s an experience that you’ll continue to want to have throughout your life. I think that there’s two things that we should always do continually throughout our lives no matter what the situation:
One, read, always read.
You do those two things you’ll have a rich life, full of experiences, and I think you view humanity a little differently when you see how other people live. We all need that.
RB– What does the study abroad program do for the students here at Kentucky State University?
CS– Study aboard offers many benefits to KSU students. It looks great on a resume. Employers and graduate schools are very interested in applicants that have international knowledge and an expanded worldview. They seek persons with cultural-competency skills and studying abroad is an excellent way to acquire first-hand experience with people who are different. Students who study abroad learn to negotiate an environment that is unlike their own, which improves self-awareness and self-reliance. Many KSU students study abroad to increase their foreign language communication skills and earn advanced language credits. It’s fun to study abroad, having class on a beach or in a castle, enjoying new food, making new friends, discovering new interests and maybe even a new you, is great!
RB– How does the study abroad program help the students go into the different areas of the world when they go into study abroad?
CS– Kentucky State University is committed to keeping its students safe and healthy while studying abroad or away. The Whitney Young Center has information about study abroad programs that have the same commitment. Students interested in going abroad should complete the Study Abroad Packet available on the KSU website and submit to the WYC office. We work with students to make sure the program is academically sound, relevant to the student’s major, and that credits will transfer. We want to make sure that KSU students are prepared to make the best of their experience abroad.