Seeing the world through global education – Kirkwood Communiqué

Hiromi Narita, the college’s new study abroad advisor, said she hopes to make international education accessible to all students. PHOTO BY CHRISTY LOGAN

Navigating the world in search of meaning and understanding of cultures beyond her native Tokyo, Hiromi Narita has traveled the world to unexpected places – a journey which she says has been essential to becoming the best version of herself.

Not only did the decision to travel abroad provide opportunities to study new languages, meet new people and experience beauty in unfamiliar places, but it was the impetus to shape his current career in international education – initially fueled by a desire she had during her formative years. live one day among cultures other than her own, she says.

“[International Education] offers the opportunity to grow academically and professionally. It really gives you the tools to navigate this globalized society… [I]It allows you to talk to people from different backgrounds and really grow as a person,” Narita said.

Now, as Kirkwood’s new study abroad advisor, Narita said one of her goals is to make study abroad more accessible to students, regardless of background.

In doing so, it plans to continue to grow the already highly ranked study abroad program that is among the top 10 among community colleges, while strategically continuing to add additional international experiences, both in-person and virtually.

Narita also works directly with administrators and students at the Iowa City campus through classroom tours, which introduce freshmen to international education in a course called College 101, while preparing school boards. information for the annual study abroad fair.

“Everyone has infinite potential, and education is the tool,” Narita said. “Where you were born doesn’t have to determine your future.”

As part of the college’s vision to promote engagement in global learning, the hope is that students, faculty and staff at Kirkwood will engage in some form of global learning as part of their experience at Kirkwood.

Dean of Global Learning, Dawn Wood, said, “Making study abroad inclusive for all students has always been our goal at Global Learning. Our motto for study abroad has always been “You can study abroad”. Access and equity are very important.

Bringing a wealth of knowledge and extensive experience in global learning before arriving at Kirkwood, Narita served as an exchange program advisor for incoming and outgoing students at the University of Guanajuato in Mexico, where she oversaw and supported various stages of study abroad programs.

These programs included the interview process and visa preparation, managing academic credit transfers, and providing post-program reviews of students’ international experiences.

Additionally, she spent several months studying abroad in Costa Rica to hone her Spanish skills as part of her enrollment at Soka University of America in Orange County, California. Narita said that this experience, in addition to coming to the United States, represents her first exposure internationally. education. From there, she earned both her undergraduate degree in international studies, as well as a master’s degree in educational leadership and societal change.

Wood said, “Hiromi has lived abroad in various countries, speaks multiple languages, and understands the benefits of studying abroad.”

Wood added that Narita’s passion for global learning and providing opportunities for all is what makes her the best candidate for the job, after replacing the former study abroad adviser. Ken Nesbitt who served the college for 11 years and was instrumental in “sharing key information about the Kirkwood”. Study abroad program that Narita now runs.

Wood said, “And now Hiromi takes the reins.”