Maryville College freshmen travel ‘Around the World in 50 Minutes’ – Maryville Daily Times

More than 250 Maryville College freshmen tested their abilities to navigate international travel Monday, Nov. 8, by speaking foreign languages, calculating currency exchanges and packing for the trip.

The challenges were among nine stations laid out on the campus grounds for "Around the World in 50 Minutes," an event sponsored by the college's Center for Global Engagement and Global+ initiative.

The immediate prize for students was water bottles, but the college also hopes the event piqued their interest in travel, showed them how to navigate potential obstacles to studying abroad and exposed them to different cultures.

Resuming travel

The global pandemic shut down study-abroad plans for about 200 MC Scots in the summer of 2020, and one student was forced to return early from studying in Milan when COVID-19 cases closed Italian schools and colleges in March of that year.

Kirsten Sheppard, the college's director of global engagement, said rebuilding the education abroad program will take time. "Heath and safety of our students is our first priority," she said.

Currently the college is monitoring countries where five students are scheduled to study next semester and plans to make a decision 75 days before their departures.

Maryville College also hopes to make decisions by the end of this semester about two travel programs with about 15 students each, a spring break trip to Switzerland and a May term trip to Amsterdam.

Global citizens

While it has been nearly two years since Maryville College sent students abroad, in the meantime it launched a Global+ Program that increases intercultural competencies throughout the curriculum.

The college explains on its website, "This generation of students lives in an interconnected, diverse, and rapidly changing world. Global (intercultural) competency is one of the main tools we, as educators, can give students to thrive in this new environment."

It defines global competence as "the capacity to understand and appreciate local and global issues, diverse perspectives and world views and interact appropriately and effectively with people from different cultures and identities.

During COVID-19, Sheppard said, the college "integrated virtual study and internships abroad, and we have developed several Global+ courses that embed global perspectives, guest speakers and projects."

The college also is developing a Global+Certificate program it hopes to take to the faculty and board this spring.

This program aims for students to be able to think globally, communicate across languages and build relationships with people from other cultures.

Packed for success

During Monday's event, facilitators included tidbits of information, such as the ability to receive scholarships for study abroad and the fact students can study in English in dozens of other countries.

Teams of students worked together on challenges such as packing a suitcase in 90 seconds. While several knew to roll clothes for packing, they also learned to place their passport for easy retrieval and take reminders of accommodations that don't include them.

They had to use chopsticks to move marshmallows or build an "Eiffel Tower" more than a meter high using aluminum foil.

One of the language challenges had students translate a key text from one of five languages taught on campus, although they could use an app too. The translation: "Excuse me. Would you please help me?"

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Maryville College freshmen travel 'Around the World in 50 Minutes' - Maryville Daily Times

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