Interested in pursuing international opportunities but have no idea where to look?
Eileen Walz, a recent UIUC Civil Engineering graduate and a current master’s student studying Library & Information Science felt the same way. Having herself studied abroad and participated in numerous service trips Eileen has tried to make the most of the international opportunities provided by the University of Illinois, but admits they were never easy to find.
Throughout her academic career, Eileen has been to Peru on a service trip, Croatia with U of I’s Entrepreneurs Without Borders program, and twice to Kenya for study abroad and an engineering class trip. After some reflection Eileen realized that she found out about these trips in four very distinct ways:
- Hours of searching Google and seeking a summer program that would be the right fit (Peru)
- Word of mouth from a friend who was also interested in the Entrepreneurs Without Borders program (Croatia).
- Information session sponsored by the Study Abroad Office (Kenya)
- A class trip for engineers taking CEE 449 (Kenya).
The Internet is full of information on international opportunities available to students, but all this information requires a lot of timely research and sorting. So, in the summer of 2012 Eileen set to work on creating the website Be Global.
The goals of Be Global are threefold:
- Create a site that combines all of U of I’s international opportunities in one easy to locate space.
- Increase student involvement in internationally oriented activities both on campus and abroad in order to foster global awareness.
- Provide a forum for students to share their global and international experiences.
Busy with classes, work, internships, homework, and everything else in between college students are hard pressed for time. In response, Be Global tries to capture anything and everything international and related to U of I. This includes everything from service trips, traditional study abroad, course trips, etc. With the help of a professor and a research specific topic, students can even self-direct an independent study that can take them overseas. The world is really a student’s oyster, and Be Global helps encourage students to make the most of it.
Eileen’s credits her own international experience to shaping the person she is today. From shaping her future career goals in community informatics, to simply inspiring a deeper understanding of history and humanity. This is why Be Global will soon introduce “Do Global,” a space where students and faculty can collaborate on future projects and share the lessons they learned form their own experiences abroad. Eileen describes “Do Global” almost like an online catalog or database, that can be searched by categories.
Perhaps the key to Be Global‘s success will be student participation and interaction. If anyone knows of an international event, cultural dinner, linguistic event, or even a visiting international speaker Be Global wants to know about it. Such events help bring an international awareness to on campus students, and may ignite a desire for further exploration be it on campus or abroad.
For my information and to explore international opportunities please see:
Blog Written By: Christina E. John