In looking back at my intercultural journal entry from the beginning of the Fall semester, my primary goals were to further develop my intercultural competency and leadership abilities, as well as simply connect with other individuals from diverse backgrounds. Upon completing the leadership component of the Global Fellows Program (GFP), I can truly say that it has exceeded my expectations and ambitions. As I reflect on this past semester and my experiences within the leadership track, more generally, I think that it would be most effective to speak to each of my goals independently.

The first thing that we were tasked with was completing the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), and I discovered that my developmental orientation was minimization, meaning that I tend to seek “common ground” and minimize differences in interacting with those of varying cultural backgrounds. Frankly, I believe that every event and workshop held in conjunction with the GFP helped me to further my intercultural awareness so as to more wholeheartedly embrace cultural differences and recognize them as a source of immense opportunity for learning and broadening my own worldview. The Global Trivia Night was an incredible opportunity to interact with individuals hailing from cultures across the entire globe while also exercising leadership within a culturally heterogenous space comprising many different leadership and collaborative orientations. Through these experiences, I have greatly developed my intercultural competency, and it would be very interesting to retake the IDI in order to see what my current developmental orientation is; I think that I would likely fall within the acceptance orientation, which is certainly progress and would fulfill one of my goals from the beginning of the semester.

Beyond developing more personal qualities and abilities, I was able to connect with many different people. It was amazing to work alongside everyone in the 2021-2022 GFP cohort, and my favorite part of the program thus far is likely the Language Partner (LP) component. I met with my LP nearly every week, and we have certainly become good friends. It was fantastic to learn about another culture that I have very little exposure to, and it was also great to help one another navigate such a cultural exchange. Not only did I learn a great deal about the culture in which he grew up, but I was also able to help him to understand various aspects of American culture, particularly within the esoteric realm of higher education in the United States. I plan on continuing to meet with my LP from the Fall throughout the Spring semester, and he is someone that I would hope to stay in touch with even beyond my time at Duke.

The GFP has been exceptional, and I think that this is an amazing program. I have been ecstatic with how things have been going thus far, and I’m extremely excited to partake in the Language Track in the Spring semester. As I’ve mentioned, my favorite part of the program has probably been the LP component, and I am really looking forward to interacting with my LPs and undertaking everything else that the GFP has to offer moving forward.