Published 11/15/13

Becoming citizens of the world, one hour at a time

Intercultural Center studentsAccounting major Chance Kinyange Boas ’14 of Tanzania spent his high school years in an African refugee camp as a result of a long civil war. U.S.-born William Allen ’14, a Global Supply Chain Management major, straddled two worlds  for five years when his family lived in Denmark, his parents’ native country.

Each recently hosted a Global Community Hour, one of Bryant’s signature educational initiatives to help build cultural competency. The long-running series, sponsored by the Intercultural Center and held monthly throughout the academic year, is so popular there is always a waiting list to attend – and with good reason: Each presenter offers a fascinating perspective of his or her country’s history, geography, economy, and culture, and each session includes samples of the featured country’s cuisine.

But there’s more to the presentations than food and travelogue. The Global Community Hours help Bryant students, who hail from 33 states and 85 countries, develop a global perspective and contribute to their understanding of the interconnectedness of nations by providing “meaningful exposure to a wide variety of cultures and economies – as viewed through the perspective of peer students,” says Shontay Delalue King, director of the Intercultural Center.

Global Community Hours provide "meaningful exposure to a wide variety of cultures and economies."

Other initiatives toward this goal include:

  • Bryant’s nationally recognized First-Year Gateway, which centers on fundamental questions about the role of the individual in a changing world, while exploring the global foundations of character and leadership, and of organizations and business.
  • The Sophomore International Experience, which begins weeks before departure with an introduction to the cultural norms of the cities to be visited, historical readings and analysis, language study, and art appreciation.
  • Events sponsored by the U.S.-China Institute and Confucius Institute, such as the Mid-Autumn Festival, lectures, a film series, and exhibits.
  • Abundant co-curricular opportunities such as International Education Week.

Bryant is a recognized leader in creating global opportunities for students. Bloomberg Businessweek considers Bryant’s International Business program among the nation’s best, and the University ranks among the top 25 colleges and universities in its peer group for undergraduate participation in study abroad programs.