‘Lost in Translation’ Open Mic Allows Students and Staff to Reflect on Global Experience
Laura Wilder ’21 shares a memory from her time in Italy this past spring when she and her friends traveled across the country.
Eight students and staff members shared their study abroad experiences on Wednesday, Sept. 2, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Study Abroad Office’s second open mic night, “Lost in Translation, Gained in Experience,” via Zoom.
The event, hosted by Ben Briggs, UNC Study Abroad Office advisor for the United Kingdom and Ireland, and Sarah Gladstone Smith, global civic engagement coordinator for the UNC Campus Y, provided a chance for Tar Heels to reflect on their global journeys. Chris Hill, assistant director of global, immersive and professional programs at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media, served as the evening’s MC.
Anais D’Oelsnitz ’22 is co-chair of Global Circle, one of the night’s organizing groups that oversees clubs engaging in international activities within the UNC Campus Y. When reflecting on her travels throughout Southeast Asia during her Global Gap Year, D’Oelsnitz wished she had an opportunity to put words to these memories and lessons, which inspired her to create and organize this event.
The night’s speakers were diverse in their travels and backgrounds. One student shared stories of his first time traveling outside the U.S., another about his time as a study abroad exchange student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and all had transformative experiences. In addition to developing foreign language skills, students improved intercultural competencies while honing their ability to think critically about and engage with the world.
Grayson Buchanan ’24 was a Global Gap Year fellow last year. Buchanan blogged about his year abroad and travels throughout Asia, documenting his time as a teacher in Vietnam, obtaining his Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification in Taiwan and his travels through Japan and Taiwan. In his final post, he summarized his gap year as an opportunity for immense personal growth and for developing a more nuanced perspective.
Many of the student speakers related to the sudden changes in their international travels after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and they agreed the challenges they faced offered valuable learning opportunities.
Brian Henry, UNC Study Abroad Office advisor for Western Europe and Canada, concluded the night, discussing general lessons he’s learned over his many years of international experiences. He shared that throughout all of the places he’s visited, he’s discovered we are all more alike than we are different.
This event was organized by the Study Abroad Office within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Campus Y’s Global Circle.
January 23, 2023