GC Global

The International Education Center's Newsletter - Nov. 2021

View of the International Education Center with international flags displayed.

It's Thanksgiving Time in Georgia!

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The Fall semester is moving towards its conclusion on the beautiful Georgia College campus in historic and friendly Milledgeville. Everyone is excited - and thankful - to be back on campus. Did you know that GC Global is read on six continents? Wherever in the world you are reading GC Global today, stay safe and well everyone!

Georgia College Hosts 24th Annual SEMAU Conference

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His Excellency, Ambassador Frederic Edem Hegbe, Ambassador of Togo to the United States Delivers the SEMAU Keynote Address

November 3rd through 6th Georgia College hosted the 24th edition of the Southeast Model of the African Union (SEMAU) conference. A realistic, three-day simulation that recreates the gathering of African heads-of-state at the African Union, students debated issues of critical importance and offered resolutions that could be adopted by the Union, itself, potentially positively impacting the lives of millions. In attendance for the conference were actual diplomats, including ambassadors to the United States from the Republic of Mozambique and from the Republic of Togo. Georgia College's new senior executive officer, President Cathy Cox, gave the Welcome speech, noting that the event provides opportunities for "a deeper education in collaboration, problem solving, and diplomacy," plus "valuable takeaways" related to future scholarship and other endeavors. The keynote address was delivered by Ambassador Frederic Edem Hegbe of Togo, pictured above. Dr. James Callaghan, GC Assistant Vice-President for International Education and Director of the International Education Center - an event sponsor - moderated the Ambassadorial Roundtable panel discussion.

Participanting students from throughout the University System of Georgia and elsewhere selected African nations to represent at the conference and served as model delegations. Georgia College students have participated in the conference every year since SEMAU’s inception in 1997. This year, GC's 19 student-delegates selected to model delegations from Ethiopia and Nigeria - two of Africa’s most populous nations.

“SEMAU is a really big conference on African affairs that gives students an unprecedented opportunity to learn about all facets of African life,” said Dr. Charles Ubah, professor of criminal justice and SEMAU advisor at Georgia College. Dr. Ubah co-directed this year’s conference with retired English Professor Dr. Eustace Palmer, who chaired the Georgia university system's African Council for four years.

In preparation for SEMAU, students research their assigned country, study issues of importance, and learn what delegates do and how they carry out their duties and responsibilities. Then, they enter the realistic setting of SEMAU, itself, where they are expected to perform and conduct business in the professional and diplomatic manner required of actual diplomatic delegates.

An immersive exercise in international diplomacy, students need to quickly adapt to the rules and protocols of real governmental proceedings. When addressing a board chair for example, they must say, “Your Excellency” or “Honorable Chair.” They dress in business attire and stand when speaking. No one speaks, unless they first voice, “Point of Inquiry," and no-one leaves until meetings are “adjourned.”

On the final day of SEMAU, the student heads-of-state vote on resolutions. Copies of their decisions are sent to the African Union Embassy in Washington, D.C., and then to the African Union headquarters itself in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where some may actually - as has been the case in the past - be adopted and put into action.

This real-world-like simulation makes SEMAU “a transformative experience beyond-the-classroom,” Ubah said. Students acquire knowledge about Africa and African affairs. They also experience problem analysis and management, conflict resolution, and how to work with people holding contrasting ideas and viewpoints. “They hone their diplomatic skills, negotiate and adopt resolutions. That’s the benefit,” Dr. Palmer said. “They have to think on their feet.”

As GC senior criminal justice major, Carson Shuler of Savannah, noted afterwards, “This has been a very rewarding experience because we’ve been able to meet new people, gain new connections. It feels really important, the work that we’re doing. It feels like we’re making a real difference because we're making our suggestions, we’ve done our research, and they can decide whether or not to heed those resolutions.”

At the conclusion of each SEMAU conference, awards are given to recognize outstanding contributions to the endeavor. This year, Georgia College won awards in practically every available category.

To better understand the feel of the event and its significance, please view the video available at: https://vimeo.com/643979901

(Text adapted from articles published to Georgia College's "Front Page" newspage.)

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In MIUSA Publication, Pakistani Student Talks About Her Transformative GC Experience

Check out this phenomenal story on Pakistani student, Asma Bibi, published recently by Mobility International USA (MIUSA), where she describes her journey to access education in the United States at Georgia College in 2020, her life-changing experience at GC, and her tips for other students like her: https://www.miusa.org/resource/tipsheet/pakistan

Visually impaired, Asma was born in Pakistan where she experienced daily hardships, plus the challenge of getting an education, and dealing with a lack of laws aimed towards helping people with disabilities. The article explains how she came to Georgia College through the Global UGRAD program - away from family for the very first time and flying on her own to a new nation, culture, and language. As she recently noted in an email, "To my surprise, I found another family in the [GC] international office."

The article describes how Asma gained independence through the efforts of the International Education Center, who helped her manage - and navigate - life and academics at GC, secured (with the help of a grant from the US Department of State) training for her in Savannah on assistive technologies - and for her first use of a probing cane - and how she gained valuable leadership and professional experience at Georgia College, grew her writing and public speaking skills, and experienced life in a college dorm. Asma was also active in the International Club and participated in that year's International Dinner where she even modeled her traditional native Pakistani fashion in the "Cultural Heritage" portion of the evening.

An excellent and determined student, Asma left GC with a 3.75 GPA! She recently completed a Law degree utilizing the skills acquired at Georgia College, and has become an activist and advocate for people with disabilities, plus the rights of girls and women.

Additional information about Asma's experiences in the U.S. - and her life since leaving GC - may be found in the excellent MIUSA article (link below).

The big take-away from her experience? "In a nutshell, my experience taught me that disability is not inability."


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Profiles: GC Students Planning to Study Abroad

Study Abroad Information for GC Students

GC students interested in learning about Study Abroad opportunities can view a recorded information session online to gain an overview of study and internship abroad experiences, eligibility criteria, funding resources and the processes for applying. They can also join Study Abroad staff for online video drop-in advising hours any Monday through Thursday from 2:00 until 3:00 p.m. or stop by the International Education Center. The Center is located across the street from Milledgeville's famed Old Governor's Mansion.

Acknowledged as one of America's most important historic buildings, the Mansion is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Study Abroad Catalog

Where in the world do GC students study abroad, and what offerings are available this year?

Check out our e-catalog! https://issuu.com/georgiacollege/docs/2022_study_abroad_catalog_web


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Yet another innovation of GC's International Education Center, "American Portrait" takes the concept of off-campus "Study Away" programs to new heights. Conceived as the domestic equivalent of Study Abroad, "American Portrait" will enable GC students - both domestic and international - to answer the question, "What is America?" - as well as "What does it mean to be American?"

Whether studying the unique geology of the Grand Canyon, preserving oral histories, recording vanishing dialects in Appalachia, examining the complex history - and issues - of U.S. society, or learning about the next wave of technological and business innovations, GC students will study America first-hand with their professors and classmates in order to better understand America, both conceptually and in actuality. Additionally, students have the opportunity to find their future place and role both in America and - by extension - the global community.

More news and details of this first-of-its-kind program will appear in a future issue of GC Global.

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Border-Free Education?

Border-Free education at Georgia College leverages the online environment to extend international opportunities to more - to all - GC students and faculty. “Border” is understood here not only in the sense of a boundary separating geographical entities, but also in the sense of a barrier to be surpassed or, ideally, eliminated. Conceiving of education in a border-free way makes it possible for all GC students - and faculty - to benefit from international education and to acquire international experience. GC's International Education Center is currently exploring border-free opportunities with partner universities and providers on five continents.

To learn about the origins of the internationally-noted Border-Free concept, its under-lying philosophy, plus some noteworthy early projects, see the article published by Georgia College on its "Front Page" newspage.

- Border-Free News -

Students at Georgia College and Students in Germany Share a Virtual Classroom to Collaborate on Climate Change

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Above: Dr. Fraunhofer leads a discussion on climate crises with GC students and students at Friedrich-Schiller University in northeast Germany.

GC students in World Languages and Culture polished their language skills this past summer - while also reflecting on the worldwide climate crisis and finding ways they can effect change.

The course was part of the GC Border Free initiative. Utilizing the Zoom online platform to create a shared virtual international classroom, thirteen Georgia College students interacted online with Education majors in Northeast Germany, who welcomed an opportunity to practice their English skills and make new friends abroad

“This was a really innovative and ambitious course. It brought together a diverse group of students from both sides of the Atlantic and got them thinking together across cultural differences about an urgent global problem,” said Dr. Libby Murphy, chair of GC's World Languages and Culture department. “This, to my mind, is liberal arts learning at its best,” she said.

The course, “Climate Crisis: Teaching Fiction and Philosophy at the End of the World,” was offered at GC by Dr. Hedwig Fraunhofer (originally from Germany), professor of French and German, in conjunction with Professor Laurenz Volkmann at Friedrich-Schiller University in Jena, Germany. This international collaboration, combined with a current-event topic, attracted significant student interest from the moment it was announced.

“A liberal arts college is where we can establish these connections across disciplines. It is really ideal for this kind of social effort,” Dr. Fraunhofer said. “That’s the role of the humanities: How are we going to make people realize what’s going on and how urgent it is?”

This is the “ultimate reason to learn a language,” Fraunhofer added. “It’s not about verb conjugation but the ability to relate to other cultures.”

“A liberal arts college is where we can establish these connections across disciplines. It is really ideal for this kind of social effort."
- Dr. Fraunhofer

To present the science of climate change to the students, a guest presentation on the subject was offered by GC Professor of Biological and Environmental Sciences, Dr. Melanie DeVore. Expert guest speakers in Germany spoke to students about pedagogy and involved them in a discussion of how best to teach climate change and bring attention to the issue. Additionally, students read a related graphic novel in French and another novel in Spanish written by a South American writer, worked in cross-national groups and - significantly - co-presented projects in class.

"The course was like a breath of fresh air. Ultimately, the dangers of climate change all tie-in to public health."
- Joshua Haymes

For their final assignment, students were asked to link to their majors and career interests what they learned in class. Some wrote short stories, while others created visual art or wrote academic papers.

GC Student, Lillyan Ibrahim (Class of 2021), of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for example, wrote a business proposal for her final project. Lillyan graduated this past Spring with a degree in Business Marketing and a minor in French. She wants to be a fashion designer. For years, she has been working to create her own clothing line called "16Arrow." The Border-Free course was a great opportunity for her to work on her dream, while also examining and reflecting upon the fashion industry's impact upon global ecology and climate patterns.

Lillyan has learned how "fast fashion" results in low-quality products because trendy, hastily-made styles wear down easily, ending up in landfills. Instead, she wants to make clothes with high-quality, sustainable fabrics - like cotton, linen, hemp, and bamboo - that are also environmentally friendly. These fabrics will last longer, she says, but they are also more expensive to produce: "I knew about these problems," Lillyan said, "but I never knew how bad it was and how these things can potentially affect our future."

"I knew about these problems, but I never knew how bad it was and how these things can potentially affect our future."

- Lillyan Ibrahim, of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. GC Class of 2021.

Some students signed up for the course to strengthen their Spanish skills and learn more about climate change. Sophomore Nursing majors Joshua Haymes of Effingham, Georgia and Andrea Villatoro of Guyton, for example. Haymes' mother is originally from Peru, and he enjoyed delving deeper into his family's background. Villatoro's family, meanwhile, is from Guatemala. Together, and with the help of a friend, they created an informational video about climate change's effect upon those two countries. Their eight-minute video was done in Spanish, and required research, plus written script dialogue - as well as visuals - to accompany, and drive, the story-line.

In all, the course was a huge success; a success that bodes well for future Border-Free initiatives and the expansion of this important educational space that broadens not only knowledge and communication, but - critically - access.

(Text adapted from articles published to Georgia College's "Front Page" newspage.)

Georgia College Continues Unique International Collaboration with Dian Fossey Research Center (Rwanda)

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Above: A Screen-Shot From A Recent Class Meeting

Throughout the Fall 2021 semester, Dr. Melanie DeVore has collaborated again with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International to teach a GC1Y (first year) Critical Thinking course titled “Fantastic Beasts and Protecting Where We Find Them” out of the Department of Biological & Environmental Sciences.

The course was the second such offering in a continuing collaboration - the first of which (described in a GC "Front Page" article) resulted in a joint poster presentation - including the research contributions of GC students - at the 2021 conference of the Botanical Society of America.

As with previous collaborations reported in GC Global, highly-expert research staff from the Gorilla Fund provided enlightening and genuinely engaging real-time lectures and discussions - plus question and answer sessions! - via Zoom for the students enrolled in the class. Subjects investigated in depth included maternal loss among gorillas, mating habits, community structure, and vulnerabilities. Student reviews already indicate that the international, open-access, component of this course had highly transformative impacts.

The International Education Center looks forward to continuing to cultivate, work with, promote and facilitate this world-class, and multi-faceted, partnership in future courses - and other collaborative initiatives.

- Recent Events -

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Opportunities Abroad Fair

Opportunities Abroad Fair: Sept. 20-24.

An annual autumn event of the International Education Center, the Fair offered a wide variety of in-person and virtual sessions. Students learned not only about study abroad, but also about international internships around the world, scholarships, service learning, and much more. During Fair week, table sessions were held every day.

Many students attending were surprised to learn that GC currently has programs available in over 60 countries and on every continent - including Antarctica! There are programs for every major and minor at GC.

The photo on the right shows Jarris Lanham, Study Abroad Advisor, sharing Study Abroad opportunities - and answering questions - with an enthusiastic group of GC students during the recent Opportunities Abroad event. One of many Study Abroad-related information tables set out in the Georgia sunshine, the Fair's other tables were hosted by faculty directing faculty-led GC programs, plus tables hosted by third-party providers.

Throughout the Fair exchange partners from across the globe hosted sessions online from their home nations. Utilizing technology, they spoke directly with students as if they were on the GC campus, themselves - but they missed out on our great Southern weather!

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Flags displayed at International Fest representing the 29 nations of Georgia College's current international student population.

Georgia College's iconic pergola may be seen in the background.

Fall 2021: Georgia College Welcomes Students from 29 Nations!

Students from twenty-nine different nations (and literally A through Z) made their way to Milledgeville in August to begin or continue their studies. Although sometimes difficult because of international travel protocols and obstacles related to short-staffed consulates - some students had to travel to consulates far outside their home nations in order to obtain their visa documents - GC international students once again displayed their great drive and determination to obtain the knowledge and skills to succeed, thrive - and lead - in an increasingly interdependent world.

Georgia College welcomes all of its inspring international Bobcats and wishes them great success in their studies!

- International Fest -

International Fest

On Wednesday, October 20th, the International Club sponsored its second International Fest on the university's beautiful Front Campus. A campus-wide event, International Fest was offered in collaboration with GC’s Student Government Association, the Black Student Alliance, End It Movement, French Club, Geography Club, Hillel Society, Latino Student Association, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the Spanish Club (and others), plus GC's Cultural Center, Give Center and Office of Sustainability.

Globally-themed club and office exhibits were a central feature, along with tables hosted by our international students who shared their countries and cultures with GC students, faculty and staff in attendance. Entertainment performed by students, plus games and free snacks, added to the festive and informative atmosphere. The Club and all assembled had a lot of fun on Front Campus and plans are already underway for next year's International Fest. Come and join us!

International Club Team Wins Soccer Tourney!

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Left to Right: Masumi (Japan), Renata (Indonesia), Jesus and Christian (Venezuela), Tommy (Vietnam), Jaime (Spain) and Cameron (USA, club president).

Sponsored by the Georgia College Spanish Club, the eight-team competition, composed of GC students and GC student clubs, raised money in support of underprivileged Latin American children.

Congratulations to the victorious and all-conquering International Club - and to all the teams and players who competed in order to aid others. Another great example of how dedicated Bobcats are to helping others!

Georgia College's Home: Historic Milledgeville, Georgia

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About the IEC


The International Education Center (IEC) of Georgia College promotes international and cross-cultural learning, teaching, and understanding, plus inclusive excellence, and the importance, value, and benefits of diversity.

Design, texts, and graphics by Sarah Borel, Mass Communications, Georgia College Class of 2022.
Original design and graphics by Jada Collins, Mass Communications, Georgia College Class of 2020.