In its mission to develop students into leaders for a diverse and global society, the University of North Georgia (UNG) continues to grow programs and initiatives that invest in the internationalization of its faculty and students.
One of the areas showing strong growth is UNG's study abroad programs, which now include 40 unique opportunities in more than 20 countries. In all, 284 UNG students studied abroad during the 2014-15 academic year.
"Study abroad programs can change lives. They seed interest in art and culture in students and make them investigate what kinds of skills and careers they want to have," said Dr. John Wilson, associate vice president of international programs and director of UNG's Center for Global Engagement (CGE). "Studying abroad inspires students to concentrate on their future, and it's also important for international networking. It encourages them to enter areas they may not have considered before."
Wilson said UNG is also growing its number of international partnerships, which offer things such as study abroad programs, faculty and research exchanges, and international internships. UNG's international partnerships have grown from eight to 30 in just over four years.
Also adding international culture to the university are about 230 international students who attend UNG, representing some 70 countries; Wilson said there could easily be 300 students by next year.
UNG's offerings in modern languages and related programs, such as 6-8 week immersive study programs, are growing as well. These programs do more than help a student learn their chosen language — they also help students learn about the culture and job-related skills. UNG offers courses in 10 languages, and students can earn a bachelor's degree in modern languages with a concentration in Arabic, Chinese, French or Spanish.
Each summer, UNG offers intensive language courses for college and high school students. UNG also offers specialized global opportunities for students in the Corps of Cadets, including federally funded programs such as Project Global Officer and Chinese Language Flagship.
"As one of the six senior military colleges in the nation, UNG has a mission to internationalize our students for the 21st century global economy and marketplace. International employers are looking for certain skills that cannot be learned only in the classroom," Wilson said.
A large part of exposing students to international culture involves providing on-campus opportunities for students to explore and learn about the world. Though UNG does this throughout the year, these opportunities increase greatly during International Education Week, which is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education each November, and will be held Nov. 16-20.
According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education aims to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad.
Though International Education Week is only recognized for a short time, UNG will celebrate throughout much of November with various events on all campuses.
"UNG students, faculty, and staff engage in a variety of study abroad programs, research, collaboration, and service across the globe," Wilson said. "International Education Week is an opportunity to celebrate UNG's global dimensions as well as the benefits of international education and related experiences on our five campuses, both in and out of the classroom. We encourage everyone to participate."
In 2014, more than 25 organizations and classes on hosted International Education Week events. To view a list of the events for this year's celebration, visit: http://ung.edu/global-engagement/international-education-week/events.php.