New class builds global awareness

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BYU has continuously pushed students to have an active role in their cultural education. From study abroad programs to international internships and missions for the LDS Church, students at BYU are highly engaged in multicultural programs. In the hopes of helping students engage even further, BYU has opened a new Intercultural Outreach course.

The new class, sponsored by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies, focuses students on developing effective intercultural relations. The class will aim to help students develop their own cultural values as well as enhance intercultural awareness and participation. Students will read and discuss theory, history and current events, participate in panels, guest presentations and develop an understanding of intercultural relations.

Addison Jenkins, a civil engineering major from Cedar Park, Texas, sees value in students’ need for the class.

“Everyone thinks they understand culture, but this class helps you develop specific skills to build on your mission or study abroad experience,” Jenkins said. “It’s a very interesting and exciting class that will pay off down the road.”

Ana Preto-Bay, a professor of Spanish and Portuguese, and a former administrator for the class, has guided the course and fostered it into a progressive national model among the other U.S. Department of Education Title VI centers.

Bay encourages all students at BYU to take the class.

“This is a course unlike others you have taken,” Bay said. “It will be a transformative experience.”

During the course, in a local outreach program, students will participate in K-12 schools and community programs and write a “Culture Guide” in an undergraduate publication that will document what they learn through the semester.

Intercultural Outreach programs at BYU have already won national recognition, including the Recognition of Excellence Award, given by the United States Department of Education.

Corey Leonard, assistant director at the David M. Kennedy Center, wants the outreach programs to continue to be a leader in multicultural programs.

“We know the program has been successful, but we wanted it to remain at the forefront of area studies outreach both locally and nationally,” Leonard said.

Students interested in the class can register for IAS 353 in fall or winter semesters.

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