The thing I didn’t really expect about college was the amount of freedom I had when selecting my classes. Coming in with 45 credits (the AP system, while flawed, has proven itself very useful), I was already done with a majority of my gen-eds. That gave me a lot of freedom for my first year before I got into the classes immediately pertinent to my major. On a recommendation from a friend, I decided to take a University College course called “Lead Your Way.” It focuses on how to become an effective leader and how to network oneself. This leads me into my one response post for Global Engagement, which is:
“Think about a class you’re taking that doesn’t seem to have anything to do with ‘global engagement.’ How might increased multicultural or international understanding impact what you’re learning there? How can you apply what you’re learning about the world to that topic?”
So at first glance, it doesn’t seem like this class would have a lot to do with global engagement. And honestly, it seems pretty self-oriented in its description. But I’ve realized that the leadership aspect is more referring to learning how to effectively communicating with others in order to be productive, rather than learning how to have power. And in that respect, it actually has more international applications than one might think.
One thing I’ve learned in my limited instruction on people of the world is that people in different values when it comes to success. In Western cultures, we tend to focus on success of the individual. We put emphasis on individuality, as well as on the details. However, in Eastern cultures, people and organizations focus on the good of the collective. This difference plays into leadership in a massive way. Were I to lead a team of Americans, for example, it might be more effective to address each individual’s progress and what each can contribute to a group. But to a more international audience, a bigger emphasis on what the group as a whole needs to improve on could make more improvements.
In the opposite direction, information I learn in this class can end up helping me in international situations. To me, part of being a leader is being able to function in stressful situations. I’m assuming that when I go abroad, there will be times when there is a language barrier or otherwise challenging conflict. Hopefully, with the knowledge I gain about being an effective leader, I’ll be able to handle such scenarios safely and efficiently.