Central Michigan University graduate student Alexis Jones can now add "international model" to her résumé.
While studying abroad this past spring, the fashion merchandising and design student was asked to model in the Seoul Africa Fashion Show. Jones is the first CMU fashion exchange student with South Korea's Seoul National University.
CMU might be based in the center on Michigan, but its connections have an impact all over the world.
"I would never have imagined being able to walk in an international fashion show," Jones said.
Attending Seoul Fashion Week allowed Jones to not only enhance her freelance modeling career, but to connect with designers, models, bloggers and business owners. She says the experience allowed her to grow significantly academically and professionally.
Studying abroad also taught her about new cultures and allowed her to share her own.
"Being abroad taught me how to welcome new experiences. Learning from locals was extremely humbling, and I enjoyed educating people about my culture, as well."
Jones isn't the only one awestruck by international experiences in 2018. Here's a sampling of other international highlights:
CMU athletic training grad Jon Burke took his degree global working as an athletic trainer for speed skaters at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
"Years ago, if you would have told me that I would be doing this, I would have scoffed at the idea. Part of me still doesn't feel it's real," Burke said in February.
Rehabilitation and medical sciences faculty members Blaine Long and Kevin Miller played a large role in helping him get where he is today, he said.
The spring of 2018 marked the launch of CMU's Global Ambassador Program, piloted through the international affairs office.
The program offers a group of international students the opportunity to share their stories and cultures at events at CMU and in the Mount Pleasant community.
The program aims to increase global awareness and cross-cultural education at CMU to enhance the experiences of international students.
"It is a good way to interact," said Raj Pamulapati, a doctoral student from Hyderabad, India.
"The world is so big," said junior Mary Catherine McLaughlin. "I want to seize every opportunity I can to see it."
From icy islands to tropical coasts, students who advanced their education by studying abroad over the summer included McLaughlin, who interned in St. Lucia, South Africa; Hannah White, who spent seven weeks in Iceland; Chelsea Robinson, who studied nutrition in Swaziland, Africa; Kira English, who studied language in Chengdu, China; and Kelsey Nickel, who worked with domestic and wild animals in Chinsta, South Africa.
A service-learning opportunity in Ghana pushed several CMU students into new territories outside their comfort zones, leading to unforgettable learning experiences and personal growth.
"When students step outside their comfort zones, they learn so much about themselves," said anthropology faculty member Laura Cochrane.
The course was the first partnership between the Mary Ellen Brandell Volunteer Center and the cultural and global studies program. The three-week course taught students about African culture through sustainability service projects.
Faculty visiting from other countries enrich education at CMU. Fulbright scholar Satyabrata Rout brought a new cultural perspective as the director of the traditional Indian stage production "Shakuntala."
Rout is head of the theater department at the University of Hyderabad in India.
In addition to directing, during his three months at CMU he taught an eight-week course on Indian theater, giving guest lectures and teaching workshops.
A group of Russian political leaders visited campus to study democracy and election processes, part of a U.S. Congressional program sponsored by CMU's Department of Political Science and Public Administration.
The delegates visited several CMU classes and participated in a Soup and Substance event with students, faculty and staff.
"We see a lot of anti-Russian propaganda here that makes it seem as though everyone there supports Putin and hates the U.S. But the truth is there are many different opinions in Russia about the way government should run, just as there are different opinions here," said sophomore Courtney Johnson.