International undergrad leaders collaborate on global challenges

Students doing library research

From translating “sassy” into Mandarin to tackling global challenges, international undergraduate leaders are exploring new approaches to some of the most pressing global issues through experiential learning during the 2019 Association of Pacific Rim Universities Undergraduate Leadership Program

“The most impressive thing for me is the lecture is not just listening, it’s a conversation and interactive,” said Dai-Wei Huang, a second-year student from National Tsing Hua University.

The program is providing an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience collaborating and networking with students from other countries. In addition to developing a solution to one of three global issues — environmental degradation, public health and social inequality — the students are also developing their skills in public speaking and presentation, community organizing, and more through workshops hosted by UO faculty members and staff.

“You don’t really get real experience in the classroom, but we can learn by doing over these next few weeks,” said Phoebe Yang, a third-year student from the University of Sydney. “It’s an ideal environment to get a sense of where I can take my degree and be able to connect with people from across the Pacific Rim.”

One of the activities they’ve participated in so far is a negotiation exercise called “Oil Pricing,” facilitated by Jennifer Reynolds, UO associate professor of law. In this exercise, students were put in a scenario where they could choose to either act in self-interest or collaborate in deciding whether to maintain their oil price or decrease it. With many viewpoints and backgrounds coming together, they had to work together to navigate differing perspectives to reach a common goal.

“It’s been really interesting to see how students interpret power dynamics and how the prisoner’s dilemma is even taught in other countries,” said Wendy Roman, a recent graduate in political science from the UO.

Throughout the program, undergraduate students from the UO are working as “resource students” to help guide and support the visiting students in their research and use of UO resources such as the library.

During their two weeks on campus, the visiting students are researching and developing original solutions to address specific challenges of three global issues as they relate to three nonprofits in Eugene. The students will present their solutions Thursday, July 11, at 10 a.m. in the Gerlinger Lounge. The UO community is invited to attend.

“I’ve never been in a situation where I do a group project with such a diverse group of people,” said Colman Murphy, a fourth-year political science major working as a resource student. “I think we’re going to come up with some unique solutions.”

For more information about the program, visit the Division of Global Engagement’s website.

—By Alyssa Hinojosa, University Communications