Study abroad on campus

Students will soon have the opportunity to have a study abroad experience wile remaining at UNA. Students who are sophomores or above are able to apply to live in the Global Learning Community.

Studying abroad appeals to many college students, but most are unable to afford the cost of school and travel.

To provide a solution, International Affairs and Housing & Residence Life are teaming together to provide a study abroad experience on campus.

The Global Learning Community is a place where students can live and interact with others from different cultures, said Cala Flippo, coordinator for international student success.

“The learning community is a place where international students and domestic students choose to live together and focus on learning culture and language and expanding their horizons on campus,” she said. “I feel like so many Americans don’t understand how much they could learn from our international students. This gives them the opportunity to do so.”

These groups of students will live in Rice Hall on the first, second and third floors, Flippo said.

The residence hall is ready for their arrival, said Director of Housing & Residence Life Jennifer Sutton.

“It is currently being used as an overflow hall, so we’ve had a number of residents living in Rice since fall semester,” she said.

Flippo said the first batch of students will begin living in the community during fall 2018.

“We’re hoping to have 40 new Chinese students that will arrive this fall as part of a new program with the university,” she said. “It’s called 1:2:1, and those students will live in the GLC. So, we’ll start off with a lot of Chinese students, but we’ll also have eight to 10 regular navigators, and we are working on getting GLC specific navigators.”

The fall semester will act as a pilot program, said Vice President of Student Affairs David Shields.

“If the program is successful and it grows, we will look at what additional things we can do to the building,” he said.

Flippo said there are plans for programs and different events for the students.

“We have a lobby on the 3rd floor where we’ll host some parties and events,” she said. “Some of the things that we host (in Powers Hall) on different months, we’ll have those in Rice Hall so people can interact and meet those students.”

The activity and programs will involve planning from residence life and international affairs, Sutton said.

“(They are) designed to help orient the participating international students to UNA while offering domestic students the opportunity to engage with and learn from various cultures,” she said.

The community is open to sophomores and above, Flippo said. Freshmen are required to live in their designated halls.

“We did offer the opportunity for our returning residents to opt into the GLC program during reclaim for the 2018-2019 academic year, and we will offer the opportunity for upperclassmen to change their preferred assignment in fall as space allows,” Sutton said. “We hope to have a number of UNA students that are eager to participate in the GLC as roommates and mentors as this program develops and evolves.”

Shields said he does not want the university to force students to participate in the community.

“You won’t be assigned there unless you actually want to be there,” he said.

Flippo said participating in this will be a good opportunity.

“UNA students need to realize all that they can share and learn together by living in this community,” she said.

Shields said the plan for the future of the program is to encourage the students to create connections with the students within the community.

“I hope students will build friendships that they will have for their whole life,” he said. “Mostly, I hope that all students involved get a broader sense of international perspective and knowledge. That (the learn) the world we live in is a very small place, and it’s becoming smaller everyday with technology. I think students need this international perspective to stay strong leaders.”