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Appalachian State explores diversity and culture at Global Village

Photo+by+Halle+Keighton
Photo by Halle Keighton

Appalachian’s AIESEC hosted Global Village on April 19 at Sanford Mall from 5-8 p.m. The event showcased a variety of countries and their cultures for students to learn about the opportunities to volunteer and work abroad. Students enjoyed food, games and music as they explored a variety of cultures.

According to its website, AIESEC is a non-political, independent, not-for-profit organization run by students to help develop leadership skills from a global platform. It focuses on world issues, leadership and management run “by students, for students.” The organization expands through 126 countries and territories.

James Kline, a sophomore public relations major, is the vice president of public relations at AIESEC. He became involved in AIESEC because he appreciated the global network aspect of the organization and was passionate about leadership.

“I really saw AIESEC as a valuable way for me to continue to develop myself, all the while hoping to shift ideologies and mindsets about different stereotypes about the world,” Kline said.

Kline said that the purpose of Global Village was to bring cultural awareness to the Boone community and provide information for students wanting to go out and exchange through AIESEC.

“It’s easy for students to just be focused on their own lives, so Global Village is a way for them to take a step back and realize that there’s this big world out there with all these different peoples and cultures,” Kline said. “We hope to bring to them a sense of reality. We hope they see what AIESEC is offering in these countries and through these programs.”

Different countries presented the event had different programs associated with them. Poland had teaching opportunities in local schools and day camps, whereas Argentina had jobs focusing on marketing and public relations.

Members of AIESEC were divided up in between different countries, Kline said. AIESEC members put together country packets with cultural information and did research into what programs are offered in their assigned countries. Individuals who went on trips in the past to those countries were available to give personal accounts from their experience.

Global Village did not just represent AIESEC, but a variety of cultural clubs at Appalachian. Chinese Culture Club, Hispanic Student Association and other cultural clubs had booths at this event, which gave them an opportunity to advocate for their own organizations and help bring cultural awareness.

Lauren Burrows, a sophomore journalism major, is the organizing committee president for Global Village and a member of AIESEC. She said her goal was to make Global Village as effective as possible at impacting the local community.

“People’s eyes really are opened to different cultures and ways of life around the world and at home, through activities, conversations, foods, games and music,” Burrows said. “It’s really such a great event where everyone can come and learn something they didn’t know before about a place they have never been to or a culture they’ve never lived in.”

Morocco, India, Egypt, China, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Mexico and Brazil were the countries that was represented at Global Village. These countries all have international partnerships with Appalachian’s AIESEC which offer many different long-term volunteer projects or other work opportunities through cross-cultural exchange, Burrows said.

“I hope we inspire understanding in our community that will ultimately propel our university further into creating change here and around the world,” Burrows said.

She hopes that through Global Village, students will become more aware of others around them and their lifestyles. She hopes that students were inspired and “got a taste of the world” through Global Village and gained a desire for going out into the world.

Story by: Molly Flinchum, A&E Reporter

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