Last Friday, September 10, a group of returned study abroad students gathered at the Lowell Center. They were welcomed by the International Academic Program office’s staff and the Dean and Vice Provost Gilles Bousquet.
Dean Bousquet celebrated the fact that UW-Madison is a internationally- minded campus. Chancellor Biddy Martin received her Ph.D. in German Literature from Madison in 1985 and has worked extensively on university relationships abroad. “Global citizenship is part of who she is and how she thinks,” Bousquet said.
Stating that students “are change-agents, enabling us to build a new global public university,” the dean urged the 35 students in attendance not to undervalue their global competencies. “You have the ability to work and communicate across linguistic and cultural borders,” he said.
By 2020, the university hopes to see 50 percent of the student body go abroad. Currently, about 22 percent of UW–Madison students have participated in academic programs outside of the U.S.
The keynote speaker, UW-Madison alumna Megan Johnson, participated in the IAP Perugia program during her undergraduate time on campus. After her graduation in 2000, she taught abroad in Japan for two years on the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme. Johnson now works as the educational coordinator at Hostelling International-Chicago, and recently received the 2010 “Forward under 40” award from the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
After the remarks, the students broke into groups and learned about marketing their international experiences, international career options, and how to get involved with teaching and volunteering abroad.
UW-Madison and local organizations focusing on international issues participated in the fair as well.
By Flannery Geoghegan, Division of International Studies