Hannah Godard participated in the Global Officers Leadership Development (GOLD) Programme, 2021/22 and shares her reflections on the year.
Internationalisation and multiculturalism are becoming increasingly important aspects of our lives as the world becomes ever more so connected – both physically and digitally. Interacting with people from various cultures is the ultimate test of empathy, compassion, and understanding. Whether that be sympathizing with the struggles of your countries indigenous peoples, participating in lectures at a university with a large international student base, or broadening your horizons through travel, approaching the idea of internationalisation with an open mind and humility is the key to the future success of our planet.
Taking advantage of opportunities like the Global Officer programme at the University of Kent was one of many amazing opportunities to learn both from experts in culture as well as through practise. The line between what it means to be a Global Officer at the University of Kent and what it means to exist in the world today is become even more blurred, as the skills you learn through this programme are increasingly useful in everyday scenarios. Participating in or attending Global Hangouts as well as the various international sessions with partner universities provide exposure to practise your cultural competency skills through sharing your story and ideas and listening to those of others.
Life as a Global Officer begins with training and development. Through an introduction to cultural intelligence, this program immediately exposes you to the value of understanding others and appreciating their cultural backgrounds. This foundation paves the way for future sessions to build expertise in topics such as sustainability and event management. With the underlying elements of culture embedded in each of the sessions, this program opens doors to bring your set of expertise internationally and succeed in new cultural environments. As I mentioned earlier, life as a global officer teaches you the importance of empathy, listening, and understanding, and these help us build a future where we can move forward into these international settings with mutual respect and comprehension.