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Internationalizing American Campuses

To prepare students for a globalized future, colleges and universities across the U.S. are striving to internationalize the campus experience. That’s a key goal of the Davis UWC Scholars Program — and this year a number of colleges found creative ways to amplify the on-campus impact of their Davis UWC Scholars.

For example, at Harvard this year, over 50 students from developing countries, including 10 Davis UWC Scholars, took part in the new Harvard Forum for International Leadership.

“We needed something that would bring all the international students together who are interested in making changes back in our home countries,” said David Sengeh, a junior Davis UWC Scholar who worked with Robin Worth, director of international admissions, to organize the program.

“I knew I would have just an incredible collection of students, to start an organization like that,” noted Worth.

At the meetings, eminent Harvard professors and administrators have talked with the students about topics like smart power, the link between health and education, and the role of technology in economic development.

“There are many things people can do to make change in their countries — and having all these options given to you by people who are very well versed is a great thing,” said Sengeh.

At Skidmore College, which welcomed nine new Davis UWC Scholars this year, the strategic plan calls for Skidmore graduates to be “accomplished at interacting with persons whose backgrounds differ from theirs.” To achieve that goal, “Davis funding has been crucial for Skidmore,” said an article in the spring 2008 issue of Skidmore Scope.

“Dovetailing nicely with Skidmore’s mission, the Davis program fosters ‘a more globally engaged undergraduate experience for everyone on campus,’” the magazine said, quoting international student coordinator Darren Drabek. An “international family” program at Skidmore recruits staff and local community members to provide support for international students.

Carleton College recruited five Davis UWC Scholars to serve as peer leaders during its 2008 International Student Orientation. As part of their orientations, both Kenyon and Lewis & Clark colleges are providing international students with special programs to help them meet each other and connect with the college community.

Thanks to the Davis Program, Lewis & Clark has expanded its African student contingent by 350 percent, said Greg Caldwell, director of international students and scholars. “Already,” he added, “the African contingent of Davis UWC Scholars — thanks to their high academic quality, their sociability and their generosity of spirit — has endeared itself to the campus community and has significantly enhanced the diversity of life at Lewis & Clark.”