By Betty A. Proctor, Chattanooga State
Chattanooga, TN — Earlier this fall, Chattanooga State Community College students got together to discuss their Global Learning Collective virtual internship program experiences with College administrators, study abroad directors, and other students. Participants included William McElyea, Emily Bengyak, Francheska Cermeno, Keely Farris, Unenakam Ebiefung, Hannah Dutton, Jessyca Foster, Brittany Santiago, and Lael Reel. Faculty and staff planners included Mary Knaff, director, Multicultural & International Services; Juan Alonso, associate professor and Global Scholars interim director; and Dr. Ken Goldsmith, professor and program director, Paralegal Studies.
Hannah Dutton, a 19-year-old Global Scholars student from Jasper, AL majoring in Business explained that stepping out of her comfort zone made her appreciate the experience even more. “I became more confident with public speaking,” shared Hannah. “Working with (online Zoom) partners from other places in the world really opened my eyes to other cultures and made me more interested in learning about them.” She said she enjoyed learning about Chattanooga State’s Global Learning Collective project and would definitely recommend it to others.
Tennessee Promise and Global Scholars student Lael Reel will be finishing up her degree in Biology with a Health Science concentration and a double minor in Chemistry and German before transferring to TTU. Lael said, “Community college is like a small taste and introduction into a life in higher education and likewise this internship was an introduction in getting to study abroad.” In addition to making new friends all over the world, Lael gained international, business-related, and internship experience and exposure to other cultures and languages. “I improved my communication, teamwork and research skills, while learning social and cultural awareness and working on patience and any insecurities I had.”
As an adult student, Keely Harris felt untethered by geography when the opportunity to be a part of the virtual Global Collective arose and the world opened up to her. “I felt like I got to travel the world this summer, sitting in my home office,” said Keely, who is a wife, mother and a Tennessee Reconnect student immersed in Chattanooga State as a member of Global Scholars and Spire National Honor Society, majoring in social work. Keely explained that once classes began and they began learning about sustainable business, her world grew, and she became even more hopeful. “Suddenly, there was a marriage between my prior learning experiences and my passion,” enthused Ms. Farris. “That is what this global learning experience meant to me; it helped me find ‘my thing’. It gave me the tools and expertise to make a difference in the world.”
The Global Learning Collective connects students through experiential learning, global education and localized support to all regions of the world. As a consortium of regionally specialized and experienced international partner organizations, college program directors can design a program for their own students or choose from a comprehensive catalog of intercultural programs and experiences.
Although the Global Learning Collective internship was a virtual opportunity, Chattanooga State offers a host of study abroad programs. Scholarships are available for 2022. See chattanoogastate.edu/study-abroad for details.