University 101 Programs




Thinking Globally

“Thinking Globally” has two formats: traditional presentation style or small group interviews. Both formats begin with a presentation by a Thinking Globally facilitator. He or she educates students on USC's international population as well as on opportunities to get involved with international opportunities on campus and through study abroad. During a traditional presentation, two Thinking Globally ambassadors present their cultures for 15-20 minutes and then answer questions. During small group interviews, the class splits into three groups and each group speaks with three different international Thinking Globally ambassadors. At the end, each student discusses what he or she learned.        

Learning Outcomes

The “Thinking Globally” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:

II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina

a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement

The facilitator presentation encourages students to get involved with the multitude of resources on campus that enable students to get international experience. The facilitator describes the majority of international opportunities on and off campus. He or she also encourages students to visit the Study Abroad office and to take advantage of their ability to study abroad while in college.

III. Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World

a. Examine how their background and experiences impact their values and assumptions and explain the influence these have on their relationships with others

Learning about the perspectives of other cultures and peoples automatically encourages students to re-evaluate their cultural norms and values. For instance, many Middle Eastern and Indian ambassadors discuss arranged marriages. We Westerners tend to intensely frown upon arranged marriages--how backwards and cruel, we tend to think. However ambassadors who come from cultures where arranged marriage may be the norm shed new light. Although all may not be proponents of the idea, they are much better versed on the pros and cons of such a cultural norm. All of us, including University 101 students, have pre-determined stereotypes in their minds about certain cultures and countries. Ambassadors provide first-hand knowledge on matters such as cultural stereotypes. They also shed light on assumptions that other cultures may make about the U.S., which further encourages students to evaluate their background and experiences.

b. Describe concepts of diversity and recognize diverse perspectives.

“Thinking Globally” brings at least two disparate cultural perspectives from parts of the world that maybe completely new to University 101 students. Even ambassadors from Canada, the UK, and Mexico widen the perspectives of University 101 students, for many may not have experience with culturally, regionally, or linguistically diverse individuals. The ambassadors are students so they relate to University 101 students while also offering a wealth of cultural knowledge about what it is like to truly be from somewhere other than the United States.

As a result of attending this presentation students will:

  • Interact with international students on campus and learn about the cultures from which they come and their perception of American culture 
  • Address cultural difference in an engaged dialogue in order to develop a better understanding and appreciation of diversity   
  • Have increased enthusiasm for international experiences and knowledge

Presentation Outline

Traditional Style Outline:

  • TG facilitator presents about the international population on campus and on opportunities to get involved both on campus and through study abroad. This facilitator will either be an employee of ISS or a TG ambassador with presentation experience. The facilitator also hands out a half sheet listing all the opportunities for students to keep including: Buddies Beyond Borders, Conversation Partners, International Student Association, Study Abroad, International festivals and events. (10-15 minutes)
  • First TG ambassador presents about his or her country and culture. The presentation should cover several topics, including cultural differences, pop culture, relevant history, traditions, food, family life, religion, and other cultural and societal aspects. He or she will leave time at the end for questions. (20-25 minutes)
  • Second TG ambassador presents and answers questions.  (20-25 minutes)
  • Facilitator hands out a short survey to students. (1 min.)

(This presentation could be shortened to 35 or so minutes by taking out one of the ambassadors or taking out the facilitator presentation. However, if the facilitator presentation is taken out, follow up would need to be done by U 101 instructor such as a See the World presentation)

Small Group Interview Outline:

  • TG facilitator presents about the international population on campus and on opportunities to get involved both on campus and through study abroad. This facilitator will either be an employee of ISS or a TG ambassador with presentation experience. The facilitator also hands out a half sheet listing all the opportunities for students to keep including: Buddies Beyond Borders, Conversation Partners, International Student Association, Study Abroad, International festivals and events. (10-15 minutes)
  • Students are already sitting in three distinct groups, and each group has a separate set of questions relating to life in the U.S., education, and culture. These questions are simply suggested questions to help stimulate conversation, but students can ask whatever they like. Ambassadors sit with each group, during which time students interact, converse, and learn from the ambassadors. (12-15 minutes)
  • Each student talks about at least one thing he or she learned from their interviews of the ambassadors. (5 minutes)
  • Facilitator hands out short survey to students. (1 minute)

Presentation Length
30 minutes, 50 minutes or 75 minutes

Presenter Training
Facilitators go through not only a two hour training for all ambassadors, but also another hour to hour and a half of training specifically for facilitators. During this training they learn how to handle sticky situations, inappropriate questions, and sleepy or bored students. They also learn more about their necessary role as a facilitator. Anyone who is a facilitator has had experience presenting in the classroom, so their main transition is transforming from a presenting ambassador to a classroom manager who takes more of a background role.

Ambassadors go through a two hour training at the beginning of the semester. We discuss how to properly create a presentation, subjects to discuss, discussion techniques, and how to create an eye-popping presentation. Student Leadership in the Workplace usually does a Facilitation workshop with the students.

Presenters are experts in their subject matter because they are international students. They grew up in the cultures they are discussing and the things they talk about are literally innate to them. Although they are required to do research in order to provide facts and objective information about their countries, the information is familiar and comes easily for them. All international students at USC have passed an English exam that ensures their English is at a high enough level to communicate proficiently.