Post Classifieds

Minor tweaks give students global experience

By Maria Yankova
On March 26, 2012


Buffalo State students interested in studying abroad and exploring other cultures now
have the option to minor in global studies.
The program was implemented last semester as a way for students to become more
globally aware and acquire skills that would make them more competitive when applying
for jobs or graduate school, program coordinator Bill Raffel said.
The global studies minor was previously known as the international studies minor. Along
with the name, some of the language and international elective requirements have also
Students are now required to take an introduction to global studies course, any language
through the 202 level, three electives related to that language and two that are globally-
focused, Raffel said.
Any or all of those courses can be taken abroad, in a country of the individual student's
choice. Currently, Buffalo State offers study abroad opportunities in Australia, England,
the Netherlands, Puerto Rico, Quebec, Italy and Spain. However, students are not limited
to those choices. They could select any country offered through other SUNY campuses as
All global studies students work with Raffel to create an individualized course of study
with the flexibility to include courses taken as part of a study abroad experience. If a
student can't travel, the requirement may be fulfilled with a course involving a service-
learning project with international refugees in Buffalo.
Cheryl Sosa, a hospitality administration major, and Shatai Melvin, a journalism major,
are two of the 30 students who are currently minoring in global studies. They share an
interest for learning about foreign countries.
Sosa has already traveled to Thailand and Australia and is now planning a trip to the
United Kingdom. She says she still talks to her friends from Australia, and one from
Norway whom she's planning to visit soon.
"You meet a lot of great people and you have so many stories to tell," she said.
Melvin's destinations for study abroad are Japan and Italy. She said study abroad is
important because it makes students more culturally aware. She said traveling to Berlin
made her more connected to the world.
Assistant director of international and exchange programs Josephine Zagarella Behrens
said there are other, more practical reasons for studying abroad as well. Given the
economy, it's very important for students to look to the future and think about how they're
going to distinguish themselves from other graduates, she said.
"When you're applying for jobs and graduate school, you are no longer just with people
in America but you're competing with people from all over the world," she said.
Students interested in the global studies minor can visit the International Education
Office website at, or contact Bill Raffel at
Maria Yankova can be reached by email at

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