Global Learning & Residence Life
We invited S. Lara Ceylan, Northeastern Residence Life Area Coordinator, and her team of Resident Assistants, to discuss and define what global learning means to them.
Signe Lara Ceylan
Having lived abroad, attended an international school k-12, worked abroad, and speaking multiple languages, being a global citizen is a fundamental part of who I am.
In my role as an Area Coordinator (AC), I focus on mentoring and encouraging students at Northeastern to become engaged global citizens. Since we live in an increasingly globalized world, I have a deep professional and personal investment in international education. I am committed to prepare my students to enter the workplace with a global mindset. As an AC, I work to promote global citizenship in students through the educational engagements I design. I co-create educational global engagements with the talented ten‐person team that I supervise. One example of this was when a travel ban to the U.S. was issued, we organized a forum event to provide students an environment where they could talk about the issues at stake in this decision and how it may affect them. To make sure that this event provided tangible support as well as open dialog, we consulted the Office of Global Services to gather information about the support that Northeastern provides for situations such as these in order to best support students and enhance my own and my students understanding of global citizenship.
By collaborating with GEO on a successful “World Café” event held during International Education Week that spread awareness about study abroad programs; I learned that this largely successful program with over 50 students attending continued to be used in many areas across campus continually providing important information to students over many years to enhance their global learning.
As a SAIL Ambassador, I draw upon my passion for global learning in order to promote the global mindset concept among our students, staff, and faculty. I joined an intercultural pedagogy inquiry group led by the Center for Advancing Teaching and Learning Through Research (CATLR), because I am committed to learning all I can about fostering inclusive learning environments for my students. Northeastern has so many resources and people from all walks of life, that we can all increase our global learning here without stepping foot off this campus, just by engaging with one another. This work is never done. With my sincere dedication to intercultural pedagogy, I strive to cultivate a global mindset in all that I do, and among all of the students I oversee and encounter to continue my commitment to global learning.
To me, "global learning" is not just the opportunity to learn from experiences abroad, but recognizing how the term “global” can also be local. Events that take place internationally often have an impact on one another and are often interconnected. I think as Northeastern students, while there is an emphasis on study abroad and other global experiences, it is important to recognize that our learning should not be isolated to events that take place in foreign countries for the sake of having an “experience.” Global learning can also mean interacting with immigrant communities in Boston, building personal cultural awareness, or staying informed on current events that take place outside of America. If we can take initiative in doing service abroad, are we consistent in how we serve more marginalized communities at home? Thus, overall, I think global learning is more than travel and study abroad, but rather the consistency in our cultural learning and mindfulness no matter where we are.
After four years at Northeastern, the moments I look most fondly upon are my two Dialogue of Civilizations, and some of my closest friends are from places and cultures different from my own.
My Northeastern experience has shaped by global experiences and as a result, my understanding of the world and cultural capital has been expanded. From Boston to Dublin to Cape Town, I’ve had the privilege of traveling, meeting amazing new people, and sharing cultures around the world.
Learning about the world and venturing outside of one’s physical and social comfort zone not only opens the door for some of the best experiences of a person’s life, but global learning is also necessary for personal development and improvement.
During my South Africa dialogue, I bonded with three other students with whom I remain close friends. Although we’re from vastly different places and cultures (Somalia, India, USA), we’re able to connect over our similar experiences and share our differences with each other. I continue my global learning every day while merely hanging out with my friends and hearing about their life experiences and cultures. I hope to share what I have learned with my RA team in my role as an SRA and with my residents.
Global learning is important for many reasons. First of all, it enhances one’s global awareness. Being globally aware is very important because it increases mindfulness. For example, as an RA, hearing my NUin residents talk about how their experiences abroad taught them things they would not have learned in Boston helps me understand the greater world. Global learning teaches one life lessons strengthening their mindset.
Global learning is also crucial to one’s personal growth because it acknowledges people of unlimited possibilities. For example, an individual’s mindset in a county on the opposite side of the world from another individual may be completely different. Global learning teaches one to not only understand and accept people’s differences, but also interpret them in their own way and learn from one another. Global learning allows individuals to expand their mindset and grow into new, enhanced paths.
Lastly, global learning helps students value diversity. Coming from an extremely diverse high school, it has helped me value having people from different cultures and different places around me. A diverse environment is beneficial for everyone involved.