Leadership London more than sightseeing

Jill Pearson

A multicultural leadership experience will be offered to 15 ISU students this summer through the new Leadership London study-abroad program.

“It is new and different,” said Vernon Wall, assistant dean of students and one of the program leaders for Leadership London. “The majority of the study-abroad programs focus on an academic program. This program is developing something for students who aren’t in a specific major yet and are still interested in studying abroad.”

Wall said he realized the importance of the study-abroad experience when he participated in one of the programs.

Virginia Arthur, adjunct faculty member in the College of Education and associate director of the Department of Residence, said students interested in the program will go through an informal interview process as well as filling out an application due in February.

The cost of the trip will be $1,700, but Arthur said coordinators are working on receiving grants so that the cost does not become prohibitive.

“We are really interested in a diverse group of students,” she said. “The students will experience London in a variety of different vehicles and compare the leadership in London to that of the United States. It will be a small group experience.”

Both Wall and Arthur said it is important students understand the study-abroad program will not be a sightseeing trip. They said students wishing to participate in the trip should understand that studying abroad is not about book learning but the entire experience.

Wall said the 15-day curriculum will focus on commerce, arts, politics and social issues in England. The program, which runs from May 9-24 will include a variety of speakers and field trips to places like the British Parliament and the University of Exeter.

Wall said the University of Exeter will still be in session while ISU students are there, providing the opportunity to learn more about the European higher education program.

“Every student will be provided with a base of speakers and field trips,” he said. “Each student will also have a project tailored to the student’s major.”

Arthur also said the program will try to fit each student and help them learn about more than just their majors.

“The project will be something the students can enjoy and apply to their specific interests. It will also be rigorous and stretch the students,” she said. “The students will develop critical thinking, experience a different culture and see how different concepts of leadership are applied. The students will develop relationships with one another and learn to support each other in a different environment.”