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Global Village Brings the World Home to UK

Monday, October 28, 2013

Students at the University of Kentucky who are looking for an international educational experience can get a head start in their very first year by applying to the Global Village Living Learning Community.

"Global Village residents are interested in having an international experience from their first day on campus," said Karen Slaymaker, assistant director for International Student and Scholar Services . "When they come here, they commit to having an international student  roommate. Most will go on to study abroad." 

Located in Smith Hall, along with the similarly focused Global Scholars community, the Global Village community is open to first-year students from any major. Students live together and share cultural perspectives from around the world through the experiences of daily life and specialized programs. 

Residents are enrolled in a special internationally focused section of UK 101, which combines Global Village students and international students.  Special programs in the hall include international dinners, film nights and guest speakers.  Global Village residents also participate in the International Festival, International Education Week activities and Cultural Diversity Festival programs.

The cultural exchange benefits everyone, Global Village members and international students alike. The close-knit setting and special programs also provide plenty of opportunities for students to interact with UK faculty and staff affiliated with the community.

Joe Papp, of Nicholasville, now a junior chemical engineering major, was part of the Global Village community in 2011-12. Papp says that when he first arrived on campus, he had no idea what to expect. At the Global Village community, he was paired up with a student from Ethiopia as his roommate.

"I knew his name, and that's it," Papp says. "We got along quiet well. We both shared aspects about our lives, so we both have learned a lot about different cultures."

Papp said the Global Village community was one of the main reasons he chose to live on campus. Today, it's a choice he's glad that he made.

"It's a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures, and to just hang out with people from all around the world," he said. "It's allowed me to make connections with people from Ethiopia, Europe, different countries in Asia, all over."

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