A comment to expand student study abroad

I had an opportunity to participate in the first Vermont/New Hampshire Returning SAGE (Students Abroad for Growth and Experience) conference, held on campus February 15 and 16. This event was attended by students from schools all over Vermont and New Hampshire who have studied abroad.

The keynote speaker for the event was Col. Scott Manning, our former professor of aeronautical science, who is now commander of the Air Force ROTC Detachment 9 at Yale University. Col. Manning spoke about the importance of creating relationships with people from other nations of the world.

Breakout sessions covered topics concerning going abroad again, international experiences in a military career, handling reverse culture shock and entering the field of international education. There were also sessions on Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, and the Pacific region. I was impressed with the students who attended the conference. They were all very enthusiastic about their individual study abroad experiences.

Internationalizing the campus is one of Norwich University’s “Five Institutional Priorities.” In addition, our Vision Statement describes the education that we impart as, “American in character yet global in perspective.” Studying abroad helps to develop a well-rounded student. Some of the benefits of learning internationally include experiencing global awareness, gaining inter-cultural understanding, and developing language proficiency.

I am committed to providing every student possible the opportunity to study overseas. This academic year we have sent nearly 80 students abroad to five different continents on academic-based programs, which represents approximately 60 percent more students than last year. The numbers climb well over 100 students when we add the University-sponsored non-credit bearing programs such as NU Visions Abroad, the Army’s Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency Programs (CULP) and other faculty-led trips.

A team has put together a proposal under the New Business Initiatives (NBI) requesting money to implement increasing the number of opportunities to study abroad and to host international students at Norwich. I have asked Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Guiyou Huang to work with the deans in creating curriculum opportunities for students to study in other countries. I have also asked SVPAA Huang to have each academic program identify potential partnership opportunities with international universities/colleges/or institutes where we might enter into a relationship or some type of formal exchange.

We have continued to grow our military exchange programs. Now I am interested in expanding and strengthening our academic discipline exchanges. It is my goal to give every Norwich student who would like to go abroad to study the chance to do so.

Capt. Alden Partridge recognized that in order to be effective leaders our citizens need to understand the modern world in which they live. By the year 2019, on the 200th anniversary of the institution that Partridge founded, I want the vast majority of Norwich students to experience first-hand other cultures in order to become men and women who are American in character and global in perspective.


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