Workshop raises discussion on global competence

A Global Competence Workshop was held in SC-219 Wednesday morning in order to raise a discussion on thinking broadly about global competence. Dr. Neriko Doerr organized the workshop with help from six student-panelists: Jon Hernandez, Aditya (Eddie) Anand, Jarett Carlington, Erica Coslop, Adeline Tao and Melanie Rose Inta.

“The workshop was designed to rethink the concept of ‘global competence’ and also “global education” by extension,” Doerr said.

The six student-panelists introduced themselves by stating their name, major and telling a story of the weirdest food they tried while studying abroad or exploring their bicultural backgrounds.

Political science major Eddie Anand moved to America from India at six years old. “I came from a strict vegetarian household and community,” Anand said. Coming to America, a friend introduced cheesecake to Eddie.

Confusion of how cheese and cake could intermix, Anand politely rejected the cheesecake.

“I realized Americans love cheese,”Anand stated. Anand’s vegetarian culture does not allow the consumption of animal products; however, the introduction to cheesecake allowed for recognition towards global competence.

Sophomore history major Jon Hernandez has family in Venezuela and has been raised in New Jersey. During a cruise, Hernandez tried frog legs in Honduras.

“I’ve had frog legs once and I had alligator this other time and they both tasted exactly the same, like chicken,” Hernandez said.

Dr. Doerr and the student-panelists created two engaging activities which exercised the ability to think about global competence. The first activity included a “Face Off” between the study abroad and bicultural students.

Red and blue picket signs represented each team as the audience voted on the most intriguing story each panelist told while answering questions such as, “What is the strangest dinner protocols you have ever experienced?” and “What is the worst stereotype about your group (race, class, gender) you have encountered?”

Jarett Carlington, an international studies major, remembered a time where he went to visit an uncle and went fishing in Bermuda. “I noticed before we sat down to eat dinner, [my uncle] was eating the eyes out of all of the fish,” Carlington recalled. Carlington also recalled his uncle putting the fish eyes on a salad.

The panelists reflected on stereotypes imposed on their racial, class, and gender groups which brought a unanimous agreement upon a statement such as, “Are you American?” Melanie Rose Inta, whose Filipino background functions around cherishing culture, said clarification is important when asked, “What are you?”

Inta, an international studies major, talked about the difficulty of explaining the geography of the Philippines to those who conflate the Asian and Pacific Islander ethnicity.

“I identify as Asian,” Inta said. “The Philippines is part of the Asian continent.”

The second activity involved writing one sentence about a new experience which occurred last week using keywords and phrases from a list of verbs, nouns, and adjectives. Keywords and phrases included: challenge, discover, leader, meaningful, and change the world.

SGA Senator Ryan Greff attended the Global Competence Workshop and reflected on the different cultures the panelists brought to the discussion.

“Overall, I enjoyed the event. As an SGA Senator-at-Large, I feel it is important for the students to immerse themselves in diverse cultural experiences,” Greff stated.

Dr. Doerr also reflected on the mission and success of the workshop.

“We tend to think we need to study abroad to gain ‘global competence.’ Opportunities to gain ‘global competence’ [are] everywhere. It is a matter of paying attention to and dealing [consciously] with different behaviors, sensibilities, and ways of thinking around us anywhere,” Doerr said.