Global Professional Training: A Professional Spin on Campus Internationalization

Abstract

The International Office at The University of Texas at Austin supports campus internationalization by bringing students together in a series of conferences called “Global Professional Training (GPT)” with each focusing on a particular region or country. For example, UT Austin began this initiative with GPT: Middle East in 2010, it has expanded to include GPT: East & Southeast Asia and GPT: Mexico. The objective is to prepare students for international careers, build intercultural communication skills, create a peer-to-peer network, and integrate groups of domestic and international students through social interaction. During the two-day conference, students attend plenary sessions, breakout sessions, a networking luncheon and cultural performances. Monthly activities following the GPT conference allow participants to maintain contact with each and to continue to introduce students to domestic and international cultural activities. The conference impact has thus far made positive impacts with students reporting 46% more connected, 17% increase in knowledge of how to behave towards people in an unfamiliar country, and 13% increase in knowledge of how to avoid stereotyping peoples from other cultures. By bringing students together in this manner, UT Austin aims to empower students by fostering increased cross-cultural skills and collaboration.