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Students see world on Global May programs

BrazilBritainChinaHungaryIndiaMexico and Uganda—these countries are the focus of the new “Global May” programs offered by the Office of International Affairs. These programs are unique in that they are specifically intended for first and second year students of any major, allowing students to begin their global education early in their college careers. All programs are led by Ohio State faculty, feature instruction in English and, with the exception of the India Global Summer program, take place over May session. Each Global May program will allow students to explore the history, culture, current events and major issues of its titular country. 

Pranav Jani, Ohio State professor of English, both helped create and served as resident director of the India Global Summer program. “I expected that the students would love many things about Indian culture – the clothes, the epic traditions, the food, the diversity – but also be challenged by how different India is from the U.S.,” he said. “The students, collectively, strove to meet that challenge. Crucial to this was a certain sincerity and light-heartedness, good faith and a spirit of camaraderie. Given this, many of the students said that their experience in India was transformative.” 

One of these students, Lauren Tenney, agreed. “It has been sort of difficult to describe India to people who have asked me,” she said. “I tell them that it’s such an amazing country and they ask me why, and I find myself searching for the right words.” A sophomore in English, Tenney has been abroad before, but said that the program brought together all its participants, regardless of previous international experience. “We got the chance to become like a traveling family,” she explained. 

When asked about the program’s focus on first and second year students, Jani said that they were “fantastic, regardless of their travel experience. They approached India in the right way: with an openness of mind, with curiosity, and with a healthy desire to be challenged by a different and unfamiliar place.” Tenney chose the program specifically to undertake that challenge: “Ohio State provided me with so many program options, and I ended up applying for the ones that would give me the newest experiences possible. We had the chance to experience a totally new culture.”

For more information on any of the Global May programs, or the other study abroad programs taking place over May session, visit the study abroad search engine at oia.osu.edu.