With a growing number of international students, Syracuse University now hosts about 4,000 students from more than 130 countries — which is more than 20 percent of the total student body.
As the numbers of international students increase, cultural and language barriers between American and international students can lead to stereotypes.
“I don’t know how to speak Chinese,” or, “We have different cultural backgrounds,” are common statements around campus. To help bridge those challenges, a group of international students are creating ways for students from around the country, and around the world, to collaborate around shared innovation opportunities.
PanGEA, the Pan Global Entrepreneurs Association, was created by Dong Hyeok Lee ’20, and Lawrence Lin ’18, and is launching this fall on campus at the Blackstone LaunchPad. Meetings, each Friday at 4:30 p.m., are open to all.
Lin, a Maxwell alum from Beijing, was a founding member of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University, and the first Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow (https://launchpad.syr.edu/blackstone-launchpad-welcomes-global-fellows/). Lee, a VPA Industrial and Interaction Design student originally from Korea, is an entrepreneur working out of the LaunchPad, and a current Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow (https://launchpad.syr.edu/justin-lee/).
PanGEA, as its name suggests, is an entrepreneurship group that is global in scale. Its mission is to educate and support students in becoming global leaders, as well as global entrepreneurs.
Although that may sound complicated, it starts with simply connecting international students to other students from different cultures, or to American students students. The members and advisors of PanGEA expect that these connections will help studies better learn, and foster stronger connections to different countries. This understanding is more than casual connections and interactions in a class setting. It will be developed during discussions and cooperation of projects. Members will learn how to work and communicate with people from different backgrounds, creating more cultural awareness.
PanGEA is currently working with the Blackstone LaunchPad on planning events for GEW (Global Entrepreneurs Week) from November 12 through 15. The group will be hosting a “Pan Global Challenge,” with a call for innovative ideas, products, services or technologies that can help address language and cultural barriers. PanGEA’s plan is to create a challenge opportunity for international and American students, working side by side, to use design thinking to create and ideate innovations that help overcome language barrier that occur where linguistic diversity results in unequal access to community participation. The group wants to jumpstart thinking on how new technologies, products and services could create potential to advance multilingual learners who are global thought leaders.
The LaunchPad is a diverse program, with more than 2,500 participants coming from 91 countries. It values cross cultural connections and encourages multi-cultural and cross disciplinary teams.
PanGEA’s members come from 10 academic schools and colleges at Syracuse University, with board members who are eager to bring positive change to campus.