The Countdown Begins: 115 Days to Switzerland.

Back in November, I received an email calling for applications to Dean Depauw’s Global Perspectives Program (GPP) through the Graduate School. This program integrates face to face study here at Virginia Tech with a study abroad experience based out of VT’s educational facility in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.

“The Global Perspectives Program enables graduate students to examine differences in academic practices and to develop innovative and effective approaches that foster international awareness and education. During the trip, participants gather firsthand knowledge about global higher education through (a) visits to a diverse array of universities, (b) discussions with various faculty, administrators, and students, and (c) dialogue among GPP participants.” 

So I responded to the application prompt, happy that I had at least tried (because I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself for not trying), with the understanding that it was a highly competitive program. The selection process involved a review of our statements of interest, TGE courses taken, our experiences toward becoming future faculty, and other criteria.

In early January, I found out that I had made the cut for the 2018 program, feeling both overwhelmingly grateful and completely ecstatic for the opportunity. Being an ambassador for the Graduate School, Virginia Tech, the United States, and my family is an honor. And meeting the expectations of Dean DePauw will no doubt be a lot of work, but I am up to the challenge.

Monday marked the first of several pre-travel meetings/seminars designed to prepare 2018’s cohort of Global Perspectives Program scholars for the work ahead of us. As I mentioned above, we will be taking an international trip to Switzerland to learn about higher education from a global perspective. We will primarily be looking at universities in Switzerland, but also France and Italy as well.

The theme of GPP 2018 is to look at synergies between the United States and Europe. Terms and topics such as “open access,” “public good,” “diversity,” “inclusion,” and “critical pedagogy” come to mind when I think about potential points of intersection. For my own individual topic to explore, I’m still working on my ideas so I will share them in the coming weeks as we progress in our face to face meetings and preparations.


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