Global suites harbor cultural diversity

A group of students from the Global LLC went to Cameron Park on Feb. 16 to pick up trash in hopes of making the park more beautiful. (Courtesy photo)
A group of students from the Global LLC went to Cameron Park on Feb. 16 to pick up trash in hopes of making the park more beautiful. (Courtesy photo)
A group of students from the Global LLC went to Cameron Park on Feb. 16 to pick up trash in hopes of making the park more beautiful.
(Courtesy photo)

By Sanmai Gbandi

Expanding your world-view can be difficult, but the Global Community Living and Learning Center approaches it in an unconventional way.

The Global LLC program was started in 2008 by Janet Norden, a lecturer in the Spanish department. Along with a group of students, she came up with an idea to expand global education and language-immersion skills.

Students who are a part of the program have a target language that they want to learn, and then they can choose to be placed in a full-immersion suite.

Alejandra Mendoza-Muñoz, the program coordinator for the Global LLC program, explained how the full-immersion suites work.

“The purpose of the full-immersion suites is to encourage all four students living there to practice their target language together,” she said “Students will usually be at different levels in the language learning process, but we try to have at least one native student in the suite to help the rest with their learning.”

In the full-immersion suites, located in Brooks Flats, students are required to speak their target language as much as possible with little to no English being filtered in.

McAllen sophomore Cristina Garcia has been a part of the Global Community since she was a freshman. As an international studies major, the community could not be more perfect for her she said. She said she loves the community and would love to live at Brooks Flats for the rest of her college career.

“I read the description for Global, and it was perfect,” Garcia said. “It was everything I ever wanted with a living community place because we get to practice our languages and learn about other cultures.”

Garcia lived in a full-immersion suite her freshman year.

She was learning French along with two other roommates. Their fourth roommate was from France and spoke French fluently.

She says it was difficult having to speak a language that was not her first, but it was a bit easier having someone who actually spoke French in the suite. With that extra practice, she said the vocabulary that you know begins to stick in your memory.

By the fall of 2010, other programming had been implemented to expand the program.

Along with the full-immersion suites, other suites with different themes were added in order to create a more diverse program. By agreeing to live in a suite, a student agrees to express interest and learn about the assigned theme.

This year, Garcia is living in a Current World Affairs Suite.

The suite is dedicated to talking about things going on in other countries and learning about their customs.

The program seeks to prepare its students for a society where the Internet and technology in general have made business and communication with other countries easier, and puts knowing about other cultures at the center of the educational experience.

Garciasaid she thinks her learning will potentially help her in the job market.

“I can’t think of any job that you don’t need to know about other parts of the world,” Garcia said “In Arab culture, showing the bottom of your shoe is considered the most insulting thing in the world. Knowing those little things can be really helpful in the long run.”

Students are required to be involved in globally related activities and events such as community dinners.

Some students come together once a month to cook authentic cuisine from another country and share it with the rest of the students in the global community.

Hong Kong, China, senior Evan Choi said he likes being a part of the community as well.

“I like that there is a community and that we are learning about the world at large,” Choi said.

Choi lives in a half-Japanese, half-missions suite.

The Global program also has the students participate in many community service and international events throughout the semester.

The program accepts incoming freshmen, current Baylor students, transfers and international students.

Applications are available on the Global Living and Learning website.