By Águeda Benito, provost of Kendall College
At Kendall, we aim to include a range of perspectives in every course, both online and on campus, and extend an array of opportunities to students. Whether they are meeting and collaborating with classmates from other countries in class or studying abroad, they are experiencing more and more of what the world has to offer—and, most importantly, learning how to become citizens of the world.
There are many ways we challenge our students to discover new perspectives, approaches and connect with their peers. Sometimes exposure to other cultures is as simple as entering Kendall’s café for lunch. Chef Thomas Meyer frequently leads his students to produce internationally focused menus—often based on our students’ ideas—that range from Thai to American barbeque.
We also break down barriers in the classroom itself. Students naturally pair off in familiar groups, which is why our faculty work so hard to create teams that include members who are from Illinois and as far away as China for group projects. As Associate Professors Sapna Mangal and Deb Popely explain, these opportunities often lead students to aha moments: They quickly realize they are far more alike than different, and the experience shows them how it’s possible to build successful teams in any scenario.
Cindy McCarthy, an instructor in the International School of Business, knows this very well. She’s collaborated with faculty at the Universidad de Europea Madrid to create a comprehensive project that matches our students with their peers in Spain to complete a presentation across time zones. As you’ll find out, the outcomes are impressive and our students learn how exciting it is to collaborate internationally.
One more way for students to learn about the world is to study abroad. As you’ll see, whether it’s Australia or Italy each of our students who leaves for a term returns to campus with an expanded view of the world. I believe there’s nothing as valuable as going abroad for a quarter to experience a new culture and encounter an array of challenges that make them grow.
Our students are focused on their future careers the moment they begin their first class, which is why it’s essential we immediately begin preparing them by offering them opportunities to learn about different cultures, whether it’s through their palate, their peers or their location.
When we ask hiring managers what they are looking for in a potential employee, they always speak about graduates who have a global mindset, initiative and an open mind, and I strongly believe that we’re preparing our students to become these professionals.