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Global Scholars Community Helps Train 'World-Ready' Business Leaders

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In today's increasingly interconnected world, future business leaders need to become world-ready in order to succeed in a truly global marketplace.

The Global Scholars Program at the University of Kentucky Gatton College of Business and Economics combines immersive learning, leadership development opportunities, and a global perspective that cultivate self-discovery in an international business context.

The competitive, four-year honors program enables students to enroll in specially designed courses that challenge them to excel and expand their professional horizons, while they develop strong ties with other high achievement-oriented students.

Each year, a small number of first-year students in the Global Scholars Program are selected to live in the Global Scholar Living Learning Community. This residence community, housed in Smith Hall, is made up of students from the United States and many other countries. Each American student is paired up with an international student as a roommate.

Students live together and share cultural perspectives from around the world through the experiences of daily life and specialized programs. This also provides opportunities to interact with UK faculty and staff who are affiliated with the Living Learning Community.

Brendan O'Farrell, Gatton College’s international director, says living in the Global Scholar Community requires intercultural sensitivity and a high level of intellectual curiosity.

"The community is most definitely international," O'Farrell says. "So students should enter it with intention and awareness and a desire to learn more about others from around the globe who come from very different cultures.  While this might be challenging, it’s also a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow.”

Students are selected carefully to make sure they're a good fit, O'Farrell says, and many go on to form lasting friendships that transcend cultural and geographical differences.

"It's an intensive, immersive, international experience," he said. "The Global Scholars are required to do a semester of study abroad. Students who live in the Global Scholars Community get a bit of a head start in learning how to live and work with people from other countries and other cultures."

Connor Bechtol, a first-year Global Scholar, says the Living Learning Community has already enhanced his academic experience.

"I’m not only making friends, I’m building myself as a person and developing my leadership skills," he said. "I’m developing my education skills, my study skills. Everything is developing, and it’s not just because I’m learning in classrooms …The Global Scholar Program is definitely one that is going to build me towards a higher purpose in this world."   

Celebrating its 25th year on campus in fall 2014, the Living Learning Program at the University of Kentucky provides students with an environment to learn where they live and to live where they learn. The Division of Student Affairs Office of Residence Life, creators of the program, collaborated with academic and other student success partners to complement the classroom experience. Through Living Learning Communities and Residential Colleges, UK offers students an opportunity to live and learn together in an integrated academic residential environment.

This dynamic residential experience offers specialized programming, interactions with UK faculty and staff, and a supportive community that focuses on student success. The program has grown exponentially in recent years with 965 students participating in 13 programs this fall. Six more programs will be added in fall 2014, nine times more than in 2008. For more information, visit