Neighboring Cultures

Campus Town West houses a group of domestic and international students known as Global Village. The program was started back in 2001 through a collaboration between the Office of Residence Life, the Office of International Education and the International Business department.

“These three offices discovered that the international students studying at Marquette were having a difficult time adjusting to the campus environment and so they wanted to provide a space where the international students can receive support as they navigate Marquette, Milwaukee and the U.S.,” Uriel Robles, graduate assistant of diversity and inclusion in university apartments, says.

The program places international students with one or more Global Village ambassadors. They then live together in Campus Town West. These ambassadors are Marquette students who help international students adjust to the U.S. and help to ensure that they have a successful experience at Marquette. 

Global Village ambassadors go through an application process that occurs in the early months of the fall semester. If selected, the ambassador will live in Global Village with an international student the following year, starting in the fall semester. 

James Ogunbola, a senior in the College of Communication, is the community assistant for Global Village. He says his job is similar to that of a resident assistant but “a lot less hands on,” as many of the individuals in Global Village are over 21 and need less guidance. 

“My job is to make sure that the relationship between the (international) students and ambassadors is smooth. I also relay important information to ambassadors and students,” Ogunbola says.

Having an environment where international and domestic students come together can lead to growth and opportunities for both parties.

“(Living in Global Village) has been such a rewarding experience for me,” Ogunbola says. “I’ve learned a lot about my leadership style and it’s given me a lot more confidence in my ability to communicate in intercultural relationships.”

Daniel Ham, a student ambassador and senior in the College of Education, says he got involved in Global Village after studying abroad in Italy. While studying abroad he mostly met with other American students and did not have as much direct contact with international students.

“I wanted to give what I was never given in Italy. I wish there had been a program like Global Village when I was studying abroad,” Ham says.

While living in Global Village, Ham has been able to learn what international students think of Americans.

“Apparently we’re very overreactive in the way we gesture. And we also eat way more often. Snacking is a lot more common here,” Ham says.

In addition, Ham says that he’s learned to communicate a lot through body language and has discovered “a universal sense of humor.” Ham also says that it’s fun to partake in different American drinking games with the international students.

Anouk Strumpf, an international student from Luxembourg and a junior in the College of Arts & Sciences, wasn’t sure at first about living in Global Village.

“Although I did not know what to expect at first, I must say that I truly love living in Global Village,” Strumpf says in an email.

Strumpf says Global Village has become more than just a living space.

“What I enjoy most is that the entire GV-area of the floor feels like we’re all indeed living together: people rarely lock their doors, you encounter people on the floor, and everyone goes to each another’s place to hang out,” Strumpf says in an email.

Living in Global Village has provided Strumpf the opportunity to make many memories while in the U.S. Since Strumpf has lived here, there has been both a pajama party and a Superbowl party.

“We don’t act like neighbors, we act like a family,” Strumpf says in an email.

Learning from different groups of people is just one advantage to living in Global Village. Both international students and ambassadors live in Campus Town West for a discounted rental price. 

However, bringing together people from all over the world can lead to some challenges, especially when trying to communicate with people from very different backgrounds.

“Your cultural competency is definitely challenged. It can sometimes be difficult to adapt but with enough time and patience those differences can be spoken about and understood,” Ogunbola says.

Yet, even through the difficulties that may come, Ogunbola says that living in Global Village is ultimately a great place for both the international students and the ambassadors.

“It’s a beautiful exchange of cultures and just good times. There’s beauty in the process of coming together.” Ogunbola says.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu.