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Phillips Ambassadors Academic Course

Phillips Ambassadors are enrolled in a global studies course designed uniquely for them. Successful completion of the 3-hour credit course, GLBL 281, is required of all scholarship recipients. The course includes two pre-departure, day-long retreats on two Saturdays (or Sundays) during the semester; continues with online distance learning exchanges while abroad; and concludes with three day-long Saturday (or Sunday) retreats upon return to Chapel Hill. Led by Carolina faculty, GLBL 281 challenges students to explore their study abroad locale in significant detail and seek understanding of the region in a global context.

Students receive three graded credit hours for GLBL 281; a grade for the course is reflected in a student’s official transcript during the first semester back at UNC after completing a study abroad program. GLBL 281 fulfills the Beyond the North Atlantic (BN) general education requirement.

The course has three main components.

Outbound Retreat
Before departing for individual destinations in Asia each new class of Ambassadors meet as a group to participate in two day-long Saturday sessions shortly after being selected. At the retreat Ambassadors begin the process of acquiring the knowledge and intellectual skills that will allow them to engage more thoughtfully with the societies they encounter in Asia and make better sense of their experiences abroad. Ambassadors are encouraged to develop an awareness of how much they have to learn from each other about the vast array of diverse and dynamic cultures within Asia, the wide range of challenges they may face, and the many different kinds of opportunities they offer.

Online Discussion
While studying abroad, Ambassadors are required to post regular responses to a series of online discussion forum questions on the course site, and engage with what other Ambassadors have written. Questions are designed to encourage each Ambassador to explore the society or societies they visit from a range of different perspectives. At the same time, by regularly reading each other’s postings it is hoped that the Ambassadors as a group will continue to build an esprit de corps and learn from each other’s experiences abroad.

Inbound Retreat
Ambassadors participate in three day-long retreats during the semester the students return to Chapel Hill. These retreats give returning Ambassadors with an opportunity to debrief, further discuss their experiences with each other and also share their insights with a new class of outbound Ambassadors. Another key goal of this “returning” retreat is to help Ambassadors think about how they can continue to build upon what they have learned abroad and contribute to growing the awareness and understanding of Asia at UNC and the broader community.