Being an Effective Global Citizen
LSU CxC and the Humanities and Social Sciences Residential College hosted a panel discussion on how to be a more effective global citizen and how traveling abroad can enrich your personal and professional life.
October 23rd’s Global Discussion and Dinner event co-sponsored with the Humanities and Social Sciences residential college was a huge success! Our experienced panelists led meaningful conversation and offered passionate insight about how to be competitive and successful in a global environment.
IBM project manager Nannette Kelly explained that the best way for students to grow and shape their world view is to travel and challenge themselves with new cultures and environments. “Go out and grow,” she said. “You need to go out and grow and experience settings different than what you are used to. This is how you can become a better overall global communicator.” Others on the panel expressed similar thoughts.“You have to put yourself out there,” Dima Ghawi, business management consultant at Dima Ghawi, LLC, said. “Even in the U.S., the global environment is everywhere, and it’s constantly changing. You have to adapt to that and be courteous at the same time.” Going out and exploring different locations around the U.S. is a great way to become immersed with multiple cultures from around the country and world. Domestic experiences are equally as important as international ones especially when considering how many diverse people already exist in the States.
Launch Media creative director, Wes Kennison, encouraged students to keep an open mind and make sure that they are doing their research and going into these experiences with respect. “You’ve got to know a little about where you’re going,” said Kennison. “Once you’ve got that down, you then need to learn the specifics of how other people operate, because only then can you really respect and learn about another culture.” Respecting other cultures is a key aspect of being a successful global citizen and communicator. Panelists discussed how learning appropriate etiquette in other cultures creates a sense of transparency when preparing to enter new spaces.“Go to the places where local people go,” Kelly said. “That’s the first step when in a new place. The second [step] is establishing good etiquette because without it you’re intruding and not really experiencing.” What does good etiquette look like? It can be anything from learning the tipping culture of a new place, proper greetings, or the appropriate rules of conduct for dining. “Learn to say thank you in the native language,” LSU PhD student Jing Tan said. “Saying thank you is beyond important. It allows you be respectful and maintain a positive attitude. It’s a simple gesture, but it goes a long way.”
Being in a new place can be intimidating. With so many new sights, sounds, and people you might find yourself overwhelmed and not know where to start. Students were reminded that it's okay to ask for assistance. If you get lost in a new city or have trouble using the transportation system, just ask someone. A good place to start is the concierge at your hotel if it has one. They will usually be more than willing to point you in the right direction. “When I went to Paris, I was so lost and confused,” LSU 2016 alumna Chelsea LeBlanc said of her trip with LSU in Paris. “I honestly didn’t know where anything was and I didn’t speak the language. But I decided to ask for help, and it was one of the best decisions that I made. I found out that locals are typically very nice and happy to help. So, don’t be afraid to ask.”
“You have to feed your curiosity,” Ghawi said. “Even so, there is this sense of fear. It’s okay to be afraid. That’s natural. You can take small steps and travel somewhere in the U.S. that you’ve never been. You can take these small steps, but every step needs to be intentional.” By taking intentional steps, you can further your personal growth as a communicator. This includes self-reflection. You have to be able to think about and understand your impact in new environments and reflect on what you have learned.
“The world is your oyster,” Kelly said. “It’s just making time to go.”