Communications student excited to share at Engaged Scholarship Expo

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Nicole Walsh, a senior majoring in public relations at Penn State, has never set foot in Herat, Afghanistan, yet she could share so much about life in the city beyond that of its Wikipedia entry. She also catches glimpses of life across continents from China to the Netherlands.

Walsh’s view of the countries beyond her backyard developed when she joined World in Conversation.

On Monday, Nov. 17, Walsh and her colleague, Eden Araya, will share their experiences while discussing World in Conversation during the Penn State Engaged Scholarship Expo. The Expo, held at the Heritage Hall in the HUB on the University Park campus, will take place between 5 and 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

World in Conversation is an organization within the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts. The organization fosters cross-cultural and interracial dialogues among its participants. Some issues discussed include climate change, race relations in the United States, gender and sexuality and Middle Eastern-Western relations.

As a facilitator on World in Conversation, Walsh is involved in fostering conversations between people of all customs, cultures and races. She listens to the participants’ experiences and encourages the others to join the discussion. She currently works in the Global Dialogues team, which virtually connects Penn Staters with people from all over the world.

Passion and a sincere interest in other people were what pushed Walsh to join.

“I enjoy the job because every conversation is something completely different. In these dialogues I’ve heard a lot of things that really put things into perspective. I’ve learned so much about people around the world,” said Walsh.

One of her global dialogues involved a Chinese student at the Wuhang Institute of Technology in China. The student knew how to play a traditional Chinese flute and played the instrument for her conversation partner and Walsh. The Penn Stater, who was a hip-hop dancer, started to dance to the music which was completely alien to him. “It’s these kinds of cross-cultural connections that make this job an awesome experience,” said Walsh.

The most memorable conversation for Walsh was one between an ROTC student and a NATO Dutch cadet. “What made that awesome was they were both so curious about each other’s lives. It was a really special powerful moment that showcased human connection despite the distance between them,” said Walsh.

The Penn State Engaged Scholarship Expo is an initiative promoting out-of-classroom experiences that complement in-class learning. The Expo will feature other students sharing their extra-curricular activities. Another College of Communications student, Amanda Jacobs, will present at the event as well. She will discuss her journey through communications. 

Walsh, as a communications major, finds World in Conversation an excellent platform to hone her communications skills while virtually exploring the world through its citizens.

“Among all the countries I’ve ‘toured,’ I’d most want to visit Afghanistan. I virtually travel there so often during our Middle East-meets-West conversations that it would be nice to actually see it,” said Walsh.

Last Updated November 19, 2014