They come from many countries, backgrounds, languages and experiences. But they all have the same request: Ask us the questions you have.
"The media show a lot of things about different countries that are not totally true," says Habeebat Diaw, a Central Michigan University graduate student in human resources administration from Senegal, Africa. "You won't know it's a misconception until you ask."
Raj Pamulapati, a CMU doctoral student in educational leadership from Hyderabad, India, agrees.
"I am comfortable to answer anything," she said. "It is a good way to interact."
"I've built my confidence and my communication and career skills." — Habeebat Diaw, CMU graduate student
Global Ambassador program
Diaw and Pamulapati are part of the new Global Ambassador program at CMU. Launched in spring 2018 as a pilot through the office of International Affairs, the program has 33 students representing 15 countries, with 23 ambassadors planning to return to the group in the fall.
"The Global Ambassador program is a group of highly diverse and motivated international students and scholars," said Megan Hofer, international student advisor at CMU. "Ambassadors are invited to share their unique experience through a variety of speaking engagements, presentations and other multicultural events both within (and beyond) the CMU and Mount Pleasant communities."
The program aims to foster global awareness, increase cross-cultural education, strengthen internationalization at CMU, and enhance the international student and scholar experience here at CMU.
Those goals fit right in with CMU's mission, vision and core values, Hofer said. "I feel that our primary goal to start up the program and gain initial interest was reached," she said, "but we ultimately have high expectations of having a larger pool of ambassadors and more requests for community engagement."
Learning experiences for everyone
Though Diaw and Pamulapati joined Global Ambassadors to help teach others about their culture, it has been a learning experience for them, as well.
"I've built my confidence and my communication and career skills," Diaw said.
For Pamulapati, it has been a way to learn more about the culture of America. "Even I think 'Is it proper to ask that?' when it comes to American culture," she said.
Looking to the fall, Diaw and Hofer encourage groups to reach out and invite the Global Ambassadors into their classrooms and to attend events.
"If we can be invited more, we can learn more," Diaw said.
"Now that we have a foundation of the program laid," says Hofer, "we can take the summer to implement a much stronger program in the fall. Our goal for next year is to increase the requests for ambassadors to attend events throughout campus and the community."