After two years of construction, the Center for Global Learning (CGL) has finally started to operate this fall, which means language departments and the Center for International Education will move into the new building. Compared to other buildings on campus, the CGL has more advanced media devices, charming classrooms and plenty of study spots for students.
As an international student who loves international studies, I am glad to see the CGL come to fruition. It helps promote international education in the W&L community, which is beneficial to both domestic students interested in international study and international students currently studying at W&L.
First, it replaces Tucker Hall and The Red House – the two buildings where the language departments were once located. The Red House and Tucker Hall are two of the oldest buildings on campus and their conditions are poor because they do not have as many amenities as other buildings. For example, the audio devices in Red House sometimes do not work well. This is particularly difficult for students taking language classes in which they have lots of listening material. In contrast, the audio devices in CGL are wonderful, which improves the quality of learning considerably.
Foreign literature courses also benefit greatly from the CGL. Take, for example, the Japanese “Tea class,” a literature class focused on food and tea culture in Japan. It used to be taught in the old Red House with lab time in the University’s Japanese Tea room, the Watson Pavilion. These two places are really far away and the condition in Red House is really not ideal. Not only are the audio devices problematic, but also the noisy air conditioner. There is not a central air conditioning system in Red House and each classroom has a small air conditioner which makes a loud noise that proves disruptive to the class. On the other hand, CGL, just next to Watson Pavilion, with great central air conditioning will never have this problem. As a result, the CGL enhances the international studies learning experience and encourages more students to take courses in certain fields.
Moreover, CGL provides places for the Center for International Education and International studies clubs to host activities and events. Before CGL, they hosted events in either the Global Service House or Commons. Both places are not ideal. Global Service House is a residential hall and the events cannot be too loud or bother the residents. Commons is too public. The CGL, however, is a wonderful place for events, speeches and activities. The common area in the Tea Shop and the meeting rooms create an open but intimate location for these events.
However, international study at W&L is still not where it needs to be. Currently, there are only about 10 international students in the roughly 450 person class of 2020, and half of them are from the same country. International students add diverse perspectives to our school community, which is a must for any strong learning environment. Nonetheless, the CGL is a positive sign that the school wants to promote international study. I believe that with efforts like this, the promise of international study in W&L will continue to grow.