I currently had the opportunity to travel with 21 students and two colleagues from Wayne State University to Canada as part of the Network, RISE and Warrior V.I.P learning communities partnership with the Office of International Programs and Study Abroad. I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a number of countries from Argentina, China and Mexico with students. I firmly believe that when we make the world a classroom I believe students learn so much more.
As a first generation college student myself I remember my first experience traveling outside of the country. Applying for my passport was an experience itself. It wasn’t until college that I had that opportunity travel. During that first program I realized the world was much bigger than Grand Rapids, Michigan. In fact, many of my friends from all over Michigan hadn’t traveled out of the state either. Nearly 20 years leader I’ve kept in touch with many of them and we still talk about how life changing those experiences were to our education and influenced our outlook on the world.
As we arrived in Canada it didn’t take much time for our Warriors to learn the transportation system and get around the city. My colleagues (Kenya Swanson & Claressa Adams) and I debrief each day with the students about their experience in Toronto. The students had plenty of questions about the population diversity, currency, transportation and food. The students had an opportunity to meet with their peers and tour York University. During the table discussion portion of our visit at York the students from both universities discussed perceptions of Canadians and Americans. Those conversations could have went on the entire day.
I’d like to thank each student for representing Wayne State University so well. I’d also like to thank my colleagues Kenya and Claressa for all of their support. It’s because of them that this program was a success. Their leadership prior to departure and returning really provided an enjoyed experience for all involved. Also, Margaret Ogg was very helpful in securing all the logistics and so much more. I’m signing off for now but I’m looking forward to our next program opportunity for our students.
Leonard Savala Ph.D.
Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement