Become A Student Of The World Through Global Engagement


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Tuesday, October 24, 2023
Hand holding up a globe

To paraphrase an old expression: think globally, learn locally. As the pace of technological innovation quickens worldwide, the global community gets more and more interconnected every year. Students may learn locally but it’s important to find ways to engage with the global community. Whether it’s finding work abroad or developing deeper relationships (professional or otherwise) with people from different nations, a global mindset can prepare students for a world of new opportunities.

Rio Salado College, as part of the Maricopa Community Colleges district, shares our district's commitment to Global Engagement. All Maricopa colleges work to foster critical thinking and encourage students to learn about other cultures with study abroad programs, inclusive diversity initiatives, and providing international education offerings to learners across the globe.

What Does Global Engagement Mean?

Global engagement is an approach to education that focuses on infusing knowledge, skills, and attitudes through experiences that will help students better understand world cultures and apply that knowledge to their own lives. Global engagement enables students to appreciate cultural differences through the development of language skills, course content with an international focus, and cross-cultural competency development. The benefits of bringing a global perspective to student experience uplift both individual students and the community as a whole. As local communities become more global with people from different cultures and backgrounds moving in, encouraging students to develop cross-cultural communication skills will help make communities more inclusive and close-knit.

Part of the mission of international education is to raise awareness about the concept of Global Citizenship. Global citizenship is a philosophy, a way of thinking about how to live and learn within multiple cross-cutting communities: cities, states, nations. We all live in a convergence of different cultures and perspectives; being a global citizen is learning how to navigate all those differences and maintain a spirit of collaboration.

What are the Benefits of Global Engagement?

Developing an international mindset can bring on personal, academic, and professional benefits. These benefits include:

  • Increased self-awareness 
  • A greater understanding of your own values and how they impact others
  • Learning to identify and empathize with people from different cultures and backgrounds
  • Enhanced decision-making skills
  • Cultural knowledge and learning that you can apply to your daily life
  • A deeper understanding of social justice
  • Realizing that you are not a powerless actor and that you can get involved in local, state, national, and global communities
  • Broaden your critical thinking skills
  • Intercultural understanding and knowledge of global systems & issues, culture, and language
  • Ability to live and work in a globalized and culturally diverse world

Kathleen Lüppker from Rio Salado’s International Education office sees  firsthand how global engagement has benefited students. “International students not only diversify our student population and provide diverse perspectives inside and outside the classroom, they also enrich learning opportunities for our domestic students and have a proven record of higher retention rates.” Lüppker said.

Studies have found that 84 percent of students who study abroad tend to learn valuable job skills like foreign language skills, adaptability, intercultural competence, and tolerance for ambiguity that makes them more appealing to future employers. They also found that 90 percent of study abroad alumni secured a job within the first six months after graduation or went on to graduate school. Sometimes the best way to get ahead at home is to go out into the world for a while.

“Global engagement and internationalizing the experience for all community college students is key in teaching our students to become successful global citizens, no matter where their journey takes them after graduation,” Lüppker said. “And we all know it’s a big world filled with many opportunities out there.”

International Education Week 2023

November 13-17 is International Education Week! Launched in 2000, IEW is a joint initiative between the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education to promote programs that prepare American students for thriving in a global environment and to encourage international students to learn Stateside. As part of its mission to promote global engagement, the Maricopa Community Colleges District will be celebrating IEW with a series of virtual and in-person events across all our sister colleges.

Rio Salado College will be honoring the spirit of IEW with virtual events and in-person culinary delights! The Cafe at Rio will be offering international lunch options all week long, and will also have a special treats tasting and cooking demonstration during IEW (see details below). 

Monday November 13

International Travel as Education: Lessons Learned about Language, Deep Culture, and the Human Spirit

1–2 p.m., online

Zoom link

Meeting ID: 745 7623 9480

Passcode: 01h3MQ

Join Rio employee Kirstin Thomas, Instructional Coordinator, Library, Rio Salado College as she shares how her experiences traveling internationally have deepened her understanding of the world and the people in it. Through a series of stories, she will illustrate the educational benefits of international travel by highlighting the most edifying moments of her travels through Costa Rica, Peru, Iceland, and Indonesia.


Tuesday Nov 14

Cafe Around the World

9–10 a.m., in-person

Rio Splash Pad (first floor)

Enjoy a taste of treats from around the world. Presented by the Rio International Education Office.


Wednesday Nov 15

Ways to Apply Ubuntu Philosophical Approaches in the Classroom

11 a.m.–12 p.m., online

Google Meet Link

Join by phone: (US) +1 901-308-6394 PIN: 247 122 236#

The word Ubuntu is a South African term that translates to "a person is a person through other people." This philosophy focuses on one's humanity and recognition of the "other" in their uniqueness and differences. Dr. Lamont Slater will lead a discussion on applying Ubuntu philosophical principles within the context of a classroom setting taking a "deep dive " into ways that Ubuntu can decolonize the delivery of instruction and classroom settings, and allow for deep thought and critical thinking. Dr. Lamont Slater has lived and worked in Windhoek, Namibia for four years and learned how to employ these practices during his time abroad.

Presented by Dr. Lamont Slater, Chair, Humanities, Philosophy and Religion Honors Program Director.

Thursday Nov 16

Cooking Demonstration: Pad Thai with the Café at Rio

1–1:45 p.m., online

Webex Link

ID: 24871068873

Password: vPjmbFxP246

Join by phone: (US) +1 602-666-0783 (toll)

Access code: 2487 106 8873

Enjoy this chef demonstration on the creation of pad thai, a traditional Thai street noodle dish. Recipes will be sent to interested attendees. Presented by Kenneth Ballas, Executive Chef, Rio Salado College.


Article by Austin Brietta


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