Mikayla Watts (’23) on Being a Global Scholar

Part of what made me so interested in the Global Scholars Program was my lack of international travel. That may sound ironic, but it made me curious about the wider word. I think the domestic travel that I have done with my family is what made me realize that there is so much to see, learn, and experience outside of my small hometown of Geneva, Ohio. Growing up, my main window into other cultures and places was competitive baton twirling because we traveled to different states each summer for our national competition. We went to the states of Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Arkansas, Arizona, and Tennessee between the years of 2006 and 2018. During our trips, my family and team always took time to explore. I was exposed to new people, sights, sounds, and food. 

Grace United Methodist Church in St. Augustine, Florida

Two places I remember really enjoying and being intrigued by were St. Augustine, Florida and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Before our visit to St. Augustine, I did not know much about the history, but I was intrigued and excited to see sites like the Castillo de San Marcos, beautiful churches like the Grace United Methodist Church, and areas like the historical park that contain important monuments. Gatlinburg, on the other hand, was all about the mountains, rivers, trees, and animals for me. We stayed in a cabin and went on hikes. At the time I had no idea that I would end up becoming an environmental science major in college, but if I could go back now I know that my view of everything would be completely different. I would pay close attention to the different animal and plant species, natural processes, and how that area is connected to other places.

Recognizing the diversity and complexity of the world was the initial spark that eventually led me to where I am now. Learning a new language, French, has also become an extremely important piece to the puzzle. The two combined led me to the Global Scholars Program, which has continued to foster my curiosity and provided me with enriched knowledge. People I have met through the program amaze and inspire me to continue exploring my interests with a global issues mindset. Although I have not traveled abroad yet, the program constantly makes events available that give me a taste of other cultures and expose me to global issues. My hope is to study abroad in Madagascar next year, where I will have the opportunity to study biodiversity, sustainability management, the French language, and learn about the Malagasy culture. I cannot wait for this time of travel, and will be thrilled to bring my experiences back to Ohio Wesleyan University.

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