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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Global Game Changers program prepares for study abroad in Italy

Lori Neuenfeldt
MSU art majors atop the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Flore in Florence, Italy.

Mississippi State University’s Global Game Changers study abroad program will be taking students to Italy to gain experience across multiple disciplines from June 9 to June 23.

This two-week study abroad program applies credit to multiple MSU programs. Students who participate will travel to Milan, Florence and Rome, Italy.

Charles Freeman is an associate professor in the MSU School of Human Sciences and director of the program.

“Global Game Changers is in its second year. The program started in 2023 with 50 students across five different programs,” Freeman said.

This year they are offering seven program tracks. These programs include agriculture and life sciences, art history, biochemistry, fashion design and merchandising, hospitality and tourism, kinesiology and management and entrepreneurship.

Freeman explained the choice of Italy for the study abroad program.

“Italy is often chosen for study abroad programs due to its rich cultural heritage, diverse educational opportunities and significant contributions to various fields such as art, fashion, history and science. These factors make Italy an attractive destination for students looking to enrich their academic and personal experiences,” Freeman said.

Erik Markin is an assistant professor of management within the MSU College of Business and an instructor in the management and entrepreneurship track of the Global Game Changers program.

Markin said that last year, students benefited from interacting with others from different academic backgrounds. Through Global Game Changers, students experienced scheduled group excursions, along with program-specific excursions. Students had the opportunity to interact and discuss the excursions through their respective academic lenses.

Markin wants his students to learn the regulations of business in a foreign country to help them realize it is not as complex as it seems.

“Mississippi is a largely rural state. We all come from somewhat smaller towns,” Markin said. “This offers students an opportunity to understand just how small the world actually is. From a business standpoint, I want my students to go to understand there are different rules, regulations and expectations in conducting business internationally. I want my students to know they are one contact away from having a contact in Italy.”

Lori Neuenfeldt, an instructor in the MSU Department of Art, feels students can get the most out of their study abroad experience because the faculty members of Global Game Changers curate their classes to the trip.

“The amazing faculty involved work really hard to craft our classes and site visits, so students get the most out of the trip. We make sure to show connections between what they are learning in the classrooms at MSU and what they are experiencing abroad,” Neuenfeldt said. “Plus, since we are all MSU faculty, not faculty from other universities, students can feel comfortable knowing who they are traveling with and knowing they will see us around campus during the rest of the year.”

Neuenfeldt feels the program will make a greater impact this year now that more students have the ability to participate.

Katherine Nause, a junior fine art major from Hattiesburg is a former student of Neuenfeldt’s and said that last year’s experience was unforgettable.

“Global Game Changers was genuinely a life-changing experience because I got to experience new cultures, explore museums and art I’ve seen only in textbooks, and make new friends. If I could recommend one college experience to anyone, it would be studying abroad. Mississippi State’s program is adventurous, stress-free and fun. I can’t rave about it enough,” Nause said.

Freeman has seen how the program impacts students’ friendships.

“I think the most impactful part of taking students on the particular trip is how they learn from each other, including about their different majors,” Freeman said. “Most students who become friends on the trip tell us they never would have even met if not for the trip or they were in the same major and had never interacted until the trip and became great friends.”

Global Game Changers is adding tracks in biochemistry, human development and family studies for students who are interested in those programs.

Global Game Changers will be offered during Summer Session I and cost students $4,235. This price includes lodging, in-country transportation, admission to all program-approved activities and tours, breakfast most days and three group dinners.

There will be an interest meeting from 6 – 7 p.m. Feb. 6 in room 75 of the Lloyd-Ricks-Watson building.

Spaces are extremely limited, so it is encouraged for students to apply early to ensure their spot. The application deadline is Feb. 9.

About the Contributor
Jadyn Anthony
Jadyn Anthony, Staff Writer
Jadyn Anthony is a senior communication major. Jadyn is currently a staff writer for The Reflector.
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