Sunday October 29, 2017

Flyers Embracing Global Experiences: Devon Dubiel

Devon Dubiel, an undergraduate student and World Associate (i.e. student employee) for the Center for International Programs, discovered her passion for international education and exchange through friendships made at the University of Dayton. She has since become an advocate for global citizenship through her coursework, internships, travels and intercultural relationships.

What has influenced or shaped your passion for international education and exchange?

My job. I was hired as a student World Associate (WA) for the Intensive English Program (IEP) during my freshman year in 2014. That initiated my passion for international education and all things international.  When I was hired in the IEP, I worked with students that were from countries across the world; United States, Libya, India, China, Saudi Arabia. The exchange of dialogue among us had ignited a passion to build cross-cultural relationships. We built an environment that we trust and feel comfortable with each other. The conversations happen so naturally. My major is International Studies so I knew that I was interested in international education and exchange, but becoming a WA in the IEP just confirmed it. Through my job at the IEP, I also discovered the TESOL certificate which I am currently pursuing.

In your opinion, what are some benefits to international education and exchange?

These conversations have helped me grow, from freshman year to now. I owe a lot of my growth to my job and the conversations and interactions in the IEP. I am able to make connections between my coursework and the experiences that I have gained through my role as a WA. I believe that I make an intention to learn more about a specific country when I have a personal connection to it. This past summer I had an internship where I worked with students from Kosovo. Through our exchange over the summer, I had learned about their culture, current events, and history of Kosovo. Before that internship, I couldn’t point to Kosovo on a map. I think that the connections made through international education and exchange allows us to expand our worldview.

Can you share an intercultural experience or moment that inspired you?

My friendship with my co-worker, Mohammed. He is an international student from Saudi Arabia. We were hired together at the IEP, and our entire friendship has been an intercultural experience. Through our many conversations, he has motivated me to be a better global citizen. I now try to be intentional to stay current on global news and events.  I previously wouldn’t have paid attention to this. I have also found a passion to study the Arabic language and the Islamic religion. I am reminded by the new WAs to embrace those intercultural experiences; to be excited about the opportunities to learn from each other. They inspire me to not take these learning experiences for granted.

What is one aspect or memory of home that you still embrace today?

My mom. She is a part of home to me.

Where are some places you have traveled that expanded your perspective of yourself and the world?  

I had the opportunity to travel to China during my senior year of high school for a class. We traveled throughout the country to observe classes and to try different food, go sightseeing, and explore the culture. I learned about the places that we were traveling to in class, but nothing compares to personally experiencing a culture for yourself. After my freshman year at UD, I did a month-long study abroad in London. There is a quote by a man named Samuel Johnson, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. London is a hub for international cultures in one city. I was able to try food from across the world that I wouldn’t have probably tried on my own in the United States. I am happy and grateful for those experiences.

If you had to pick a life motto or quote, what would it be? Why?

“The foreigner residing among you must be treated as you’re native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God." (Leviticus 19: 33, 34) It doesn’t have to be international in us, but also just inspire international exchange, travel, passion all things international. I believe that this bible verse promotes the integrity of every person and what they stand for. I am guided by this verse to ensure others feel welcomed, learn from others and create intercultural friendships.

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