Developing Students into Global Leaders

Touted for their role in infusing international perspectives into the U.S. college experience, global leadership programs are now an important tool to keep internationalization at the forefront as travel remains limited.
In the era of the novel coronavirus pandemic, global leadership programs seem to have even greater relevance. Illustration: Shutterstock
Karen Doss Bowman

Born in London and raised in Florida by Nigerian parents, Chizoba Ezenwa developed an interest in exploring other cultures and languages at a young age. By the time she was in middle school, Ezenwa’s family took annual summer trips to Nigeria, where she visited extended family and learned more about her heritage. She made solo trips to Nigeria during high school summer breaks, dedicating time during these visits to volunteer in a rehabilitation center for orphans, young mothers, and people with mental health issues.

These early experiences sparked Ezenwa’s interest in a globalized education. As a student at the University of Florida (UF), she completed the International Scholars Program (ISP) to augment her major in international studies with a concentration in Africa. She also completed a minor in international development and humanitarian assistance.

“[These travels to Nigeria] are a part of the story about what guided me toward pursuing an international degree,” says Ezenwa, who graduated in 2017 and returned to the United States in December after serving 2 years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Benin, West Africa. 

“I threw myself into the international realm [at UF],” she says. “As a result, I discovered mentors and professors who, like me, are fascinated by the world, and particularly by Africa and its potential.”

Global leadership programs such as ISP at UF have been a boost for campus internationalization efforts. In the era of the novel coronavirus pandemic, they seem to have even greater relevance. These initiatives—many of which do not

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