By Sue Alley, a Senior majoring in Marketing and minoring in English
All photos courtesy of Sue Alley
I grew up in the suburban town of Greensboro, North Carolina. Needless to say, I did not meet many people from foreign countries. The closest I had ever gotten to travel abroad was flipping through the pages of my travel books. But that all changed when I came to NC State and started living in Alexander Hall, otherwise known as the Global Village.
My Experience in the Global Village
Living Global Village in Alexander Hall is the highlight of my whole college career at NC State. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Global Village, the dorm consists of half NC State students and half exchange students. Every American student is paired with an international student so that they can live together and learn about each other’s cultures. Living in this hall was my first insight into other cultures. For me, Global Village was more than a residence hall. It was a family. When everyone shares their cultures with each other, it brings people together. And as a hall, we did everything together. We would eat together, watch movies together, and go on trips together. The things I learned, the memories I made, and especially the people I met made such an impact on my life.
The hardest thing about living in Global Village is learning to say goodbye to all your international friends, who were only at NC State for a semester or two. But it’s not really goodbye, because now, you get the opportunity to visit them in their home country. During my time studying abroad in Europe, I got to visit and even live with many of the friends that I met in Alexander Hall. After living in this hall for almost my whole time here at NC State, it’s nice to know that I have friends that I can visit all over the world.
My GPC Journey
It was my first semester living in Global Village when I discovered the Global Perspectives Certificate. I saw a flyer hanging up in the hallway, and immediately, I knew it was something I wanted to do. All the different people, cultures, and languages in Alexander Hall fascinated me, and I wanted to learn more.
The Global Perspective Certificate gave me many opportunities that I would not have done if I weren’t a part of the program. For example, the GPC challenged me to reach a high level in a foreign language, and to take coursework outside of my usual business courses. I have taken classes on Foreign Policy of the EU, Asian Societies, and two cross-cultural communication classes. In any field, but especially in business, it’s essential to learn about other cultures. Right now, I am working in a large, international organization with people from all over the world. Every day, I interact with my German, Danish, Swiss and Chinese colleagues. I’ve found that the cultural knowledge I’ve learned has allowed me to understand my colleagues better. I’ve found that the knowledge I’ve learned about Asian culture has been the most helpful since it’s so different from my Western culture.
My Advice to GPC Students
Aside from coursework, I think it’s important for GPC students to interact with international students on campus. You not only learn about other cultures, but you learn about what makes your own culture special. There are hundreds of international students on campus, and I encourage GPC students to seek opportunities where you can interact with them.