The GLLC Retreat: A Bonding Experience

For one group of students, living in a global residential community is an exciting part of their UD experience. Providing a unique on-campus opportunity, the Global Learning Living Community (GLLC) brings together U.S. and international students to live and learn from one another’s different perspectives and experiences. Located in the Caldwell Apartments, students live in apartments comprised of 4 individuals and is part of the Special Interest Housing experiences in Housing and Residence Life. Ideally, two of the students are from the U.S. and two are from other countries, in hopes of creating an environment which supports and nurtures students’ international and intercultural interests.

One of the hallmark experiences for the residents in the GLLC is the yearly retreats (one in the fall and one in the spring) designed to get students off campus and bonding as a community. These retreats are a great way to start the semester, and provide a neutral space for students to get to know each other outside of their daily routines.

This fall, the group ventured to Yellow Springs, OH where they visited the Glen Helen Outdoor Education Center in John Bryan State Park. Over 70 students spent the evening getting to know one another by engaging in team building activities designed by the Residence Coordinator (RC), a graduate student who lives in the community. From concentric circles to rock-paper-scissors competitions to helium hoops, the group interacted with one another through laughter and cheer. These activities require the students to interact with people from across the building, and engage with those who they may not see on a daily basis.

After a few hours of interactive activities, the students had worked up an appetite. One of the traditions for the fall retreat is the potluck dinner. Students are encouraged to bring a food to share that is representative of their culture or family’s traditions. This is the first time the students are able to share a meal as a whole community, and is an opportunity to learn more about the various cultures represented in the GLLC. Finally, the evening rounded out with a bonfire and a reflective “wish log ceremony”. This ceremony asks the students to reflect on their experience in the GLLC, and share a “wish” for the community with the remainder of the year. After the ceremony, the group shared a bonding experience by making s’mores. Many of the students were learning how to make, and tasting, s’mores for the first time. The excitement of seeing students connect through this past time is what makes the retreat such a great experience.

The GLLC is open to any second, third and fourth year students. Learn more about the GLLC, and the opportunities that await at udayton.edu/international/connect/programs/gllc.php.
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