At a time when students can’t travel internationally, the Office of International Affairs still wants to help Ohio State students communicate with people from different cultures — through the Global Engagement Certificate Program.
Megan Lawther, the global engagement program manager for the Office of International Affairs, said the program exposes Ohio State students from different cultural backgrounds to one another’s perspectives and develop skills around that exposure in preparation of joining a global workforce.
“We’re looking at ideas of adaptability, flexibility, and adjusting the way you deal with stress and difference. Those are all things that are learned skills and we want you to be able to practice that while you’re here on campus,” Lawther said.
The certification is based on a point system; students must get at least 12 points in one academic year in order to be certified. Students earn two points for each of two required workshops, four points for participating in a global leadership group and one point for each additional event or program attended. Students must submit a reflection paper no later than one week after completing each point.
Caroline Omolesky, the program officer for sponsored programs and academic liaison in the Office of International Affairs, said she believes the program can challenge students by emphasizing consistent and coherent participation in workshops.
Omolesky said the two required workshops focus on cross-cultural communication and comparing how experiences at Ohio State differ for domestic and international students.
“I think it will really help students not just have the experiences, but also process how they’re growing as a result of the events,” Omolesky said.
The program also allows students to earn points for attending events related to global engagement offered outside the program.
“There’s so many ways to gain a global perspective in Columbus,” Lawther said. “If a student wants to attend something by the Columbus Council on World Affairs and asks, ‘Would that count?’ Well yeah, it potentially could.”
All students are eligible to enroll in the program and can register on the Office of International Affairs website before the Oct. 16 deadline.
“The program is for someone that is curious about the rest of the world, making friends or understanding how to communicate with others who might have a very different background,” Lawther said.
Correction: An previous version of this story incorrectly stated Megan Lawther’s title as global engagement program coordinator, rather than global engagement program manager. The article was updated at 10:14 a.m.