Meet our Grant Recipients
Study Abroad - Analucia Lopezrevoredo
by Faith Merino '08
For students who travel abroad, the life-changing lessons they receive from experiencing other cultures are unparalleled. They learn that the rest of the world is not as far away as they thought. As increasing globalization continues to expand virtually all areas of study, many students are now finding that they are, in fact, active participants in a global community. At University of the Pacific, students are encouraged to reframe their perspectives to include other nations and peoples, which not only facilitates their development as responsible, socially aware global citizens; it also gives them a competitive advantage on a global scale. Understanding one's own place in the world allows for the utilization of one's skills for global change.
Not all students have the means or opportunity to travel abroad, however, which is why it is more important than ever to open dialogues regarding culture and diversity. Student affairs professionals are being challenged to create learning opportunities for students to understand the real meaning of diversity and multiculturalism.
Analucia Lopezrevoredo recently graduated from Pacific with her Master's degree in Education Administration and Leadership, with a specialization in Student Affairs. Originally from Lima, Peru, Lopezrevoredo understands the need for communication in regards to culture and diversity, which is why she applied herself to the task of researching cross-cultural communication skills and the role of storytelling in initiating dialogue. To share her findings with others, she received a Pacific Fund grant to attend the Annual American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Convention and present her paper, "Ghana Cultural Study Tour: Strengthening Cross-Cultural Communication Skills."
Her research began with a study abroad trip of her own. In summer 2008, she joined several others on a two-week Cultural Study Tour in Ghana, West Africa. The ACPA sponsors an annual study tour to help student affairs professionals learn more about student services and higher education systems in different cultures. In early June 2008, Lopezrevoredo, along with several others, traveled to Ghana and stayed at the guest house of the University of Ghana, the nation's premier university. Throughout the four days they spent at the university, the attendees listened to lectures by leading Ghanaian scholars on the African Slave Trade, the African Diaspora, African politics, women's issues in Africa, chieftaincy in Ghana, and religion and culture in Ghana. Between lectures, they toured the facilities, including the library, the residence halls, the W.E.B. DuBois Center, and other local features, such as Nkrumah Memorial Park and the Center for National Culture. On the fourth day, they left the university and struck out for Kumasi, where they listened to more lectures, toured the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, and visited local villages. In addition to the trip's educational emphasis, the group also got the chance to experience the Ghanaian landscape and ecosystem through jungle walks and animal-viewings at the waterhole. In all, the group visited six regions of the country and maintained a constant dialogue regarding their journey through daily group reflections.
"The experience was life-changing," said Lopezrevoredo. "I was able to visit six regions of the country, meet people that changed my life, and better understand West African culture."
One of the lessons that Lopezrevoredo received from this experience was the importance of storytelling as a form of experiential learning. "I have witnessed storytelling compensate for experiential learning through meaningful and transparent dialogue. In presenting at the ACPA convention, for example, many student affairs professionals were able to honestly illustrate experiences abroad that changed their lives," explained Lopezrevoredo. "Through organized discussion, critical thinking was achieved as participants asked questions and actively listened to stories."
The American College Personnel Association is the leading comprehensive student affairs association, and Analucia applied for a Pacific Fund grant to present her research. "Presenting at the ACPA's Annual Convention was a wonderful experience. It gave me the opportunity to showcase my passion for inclusivity and multiculturalism to the rest of my student affairs colleagues," said Lopezrevoredo.
As pivotal figures in the multicultural development of university students, student affairs professionals like Analucia will pave the way towards greater global awareness among students.
"This experience has taught me that my future will undoubtedly revolve around increasing awareness and challenging current thought on multiculturalism," said Lopezrevoredo. "I see myself one day running either an international or multicultural center."
Thanks to her experiences in the Ghana Cultural Study Tour, as well as her own research and initiative, Analucia Lopezrevoredo is likely to have a tremendous impact on the global community.
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