Marcus Key, 404-413-1392
Since Ralph Culpepper was a kid in middle school he dreamed of exploring Australia. This summer, when the junior film major jumped off of a plane after a 13 hour flight to Queensland, Australia, he knew that his dream had come true; he had finally made it to the land Down Under.
Culpepper is just one of the 634 Georgia State students who studied abroad this past year. His experiences in Australia include snorkeling in The Great Barrier Reef, hiking in the Outback and feasting on kebabs, a popular Australian dish. Studying abroad in Australia equipped Culpepper with a new perception of life.
“It opens your mind to new challenges,” he said. “Studying abroad forces you into a situation where you have no choice but to grow and learn, plus, it’s just plain fun!”
Culpepper will be among a group of student panelists who will share their study abroad experiences during International Education Week on campus Nov. 15-19.
This year marks the 12th annual International Education Week, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of State to celebrate the benefits of international education worldwide. The initiative also aims to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment.
“The central goal of International Education Week at GSU is to celebrate the wide array of international opportunities that are available to Georgia State students, on the campus and throughout the world,” said Jeremy Billetdeaux, Georgia State’s director of Study Abroad Programs. “We want students, faculty and staff to get a taste of how incredibly rich the campus is in terms of international activities.”
Keynote events during the week include the “Spending a Semester Abroad: Student Panel” on Nov. 15 at noon in the Golden Key Room of the Student Center, and the “Crossing Paths, Crossing Cultures Photo Competition” on Nov. 17 from 5 to 6 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. Students Megan Urry, and Georgia McGuffey will be sharing their study abroad testimonials at the “Spending a Semester Abroad: Student Panel.”
“The experience is monumental,” said Urry, a senior English major who spent a year in Ireland. “You learn so much more about yourself when you’re not at home and constantly testing yourself in a foreign country. All of your surroundings are totally different, and you have to adapt to situations more quickly. It truly builds confidence; I feel like I can go anywhere and do anything after I graduate now.”
Other International Education Week themed events will include "Broadening Horizons: Minority Students and Study Abroad Panel Discussion," from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 16 in the Student Center Speaker's Auditorium. The week’s festivities finish off with the “International Thanksgiving Feast,” which hosts Thanksgiving dishes from around the world. The event is scheduled for from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18 in the lobby of the Rialto Center for the Arts.
With the growing success of International Education Week over the past decade, Gov. Nathan Deal recently signed a proclamation encouraging all Georgia citizens to acknowledge the importance of international education and participate in the weeks festivities.
“This is exciting,” says Associate Provost for International Affairs Jun Liu. “We are thrilled to have the governor’s endorsement, and it is very encouraging for us as what we are doing is valued at the state level, which gives us momentum to do more and to do better.”
This fall, GSU enrolled 3,654 international students. Also, Georgia State currently has more than 100 agreements and initiatives with more than 36 countries. Just this year GSU added 10 new faculty- led programs in China, Costa Rica, Portugal, Morocco and Belize.
For more information pertaining to International Education Week or studying abroad, visit the Study Abroad Programs Office website at www.gsu.edu/studyabroad.
Nov. 14, 2011