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Global Ambassador Program

Apply to join the Global Ambassador Program! Interested in intercultural exchange? Ready to step out of your comfort zone to make new friends and/or learn new cultures? Want to gain skills for an internship or job at an organization outside of the U.S. or with a diverse workforce? Thinking of going on study abroad and want more intercultural experiences? If so, join the Global Ambassador Program!

GAP is a year-long international friendship program that aims to foster intercultural dialogue among Columbia's diverse student body. The program participants are of different races, nationalities, classes, genders, sexual orientations and class years. GAP provides a brave(r) space for discussing topics influenced by our values. Topics have included culture shock, communication styles, social perceptions, cancel culture, borders, identity and family traditions. 

Extended deadline to apply is Sunday, October 3 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Applicants should be prepared to commit to a full academic year of participation, which includes regular programming on Friday evenings (usually twice a month, 5:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. EDT).  Students are expected to be available on the following dates and times:

Fall Kickoff

Friday, October 8, 2021

10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.


Spring Kickoff 

Friday, January 28, 2022

10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

GAP selects a cohort of approximately 20 ambassadors who participate in monthly dialogues led by student facilitators. Ambassadors are also matched into smaller peer groups (also led by student facilitators) which meet monthly for additional bonding opportunities, intercultural activities, and discussions. 

All CC and SEAS students are welcome to apply. You DO NOT have to be an international student to apply to be a part of the program.  

Global Ambassador Program Frequently Asked Questions are below

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Global Ambassador Program?

GAP is a year-long international friendship program that aims to foster intercultural dialogue among Columbia's diverse student body. The program consists of students of different races, nationalities, classes, genders, sexual orientations, and class years. It provides a safe(r) space for discussing topics such as culture shock, communication styles, social perceptions, identity, and family traditions.  GAP selects a cohort of approximately 20 ambassadors who participate in monthly dialogues led by student facilitators. Ambassadors are also matched into smaller peer groups (also led by student facilitators) which meet monthly for additional bonding opportunities, intercultural activities, and discussions.

This program is best for undergraduate students who are seeking to know more about the community they live within and open to reflect on and share their own values and beliefs. 

When is the application deadline?

Fall 2021-Spring 2022

Extended deadline to apply is Sunday, October 3 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.

Who can apply to participate in the Global Ambassador Program?

All Columbia College and Columbia Engineering undergraduate students are welcome to apply.  Please email gap_coord@columbia.edu if you have any concerns or questions.

I am a visiting student. Can I apply?

The commitment to the program is one academic year (October 2021 to April 2022). Please apply if your exchange program will be for one year.  If your program is less than one year, we will consider your application as space allows. 

I am not an international student. Can I apply?

Yes! GAP is open to all CC and SEAS undergraduate students.  You do not have to be an international student to apply to be a part of the program.  Various perspectives make this program richer for all involved. 

When will I know whether I am accepted?

You will be notified whether you are accepted to GAP and, if accepted, information about your ambassador group in early October.

What is the commitment like if I am selected?

Ambassadors are expected to participate in programs on Fridays (twice a month), sometimes as a large group and sometimes as a small peer-group. These meetings will typically last for about 75 minutes and start at 5:00 P.M. EDT. Additional optional programming like excursions may be added throughout the year.  Participants who have been able to fully participate are more likely to feel that the GAP has been a positive experience for them. 

Expected absences due to academic requirements can be discussed.  

Is this a language exchange program? I am learning a foreign language now and would like to meet someone to practice the language.

No, this is not a language exchange program. All programming will be conducted in English. However, there will be many opportunities to share elements of language and culture, and you may meet people with whom you can speak and/or practice many languages!

There are Columbia student clubs and other organizations in New York City that offer language exchange pairs.  Please email international@columbia.edu if you would like to discuss some of your options. 

Is this a mentorship program? I am a senior and am looking for an opportunity to mentor younger students and make new friends. How is this program different from the Columbia Mentoring Initiative (CMI)?

We hope to include all class years in each ambassador group. Our fundamental goal is to connect people from different backgrounds and this includes age and class year. GAP is a learning and sharing experience for all members of the group  - the premise of your ambassador group is an equal rather than a mentor-mentee relationship.

The Columbia Mentoring Initiative (CMI) is structured as a group of first-years who share a common social identity. The groups are led by two students who share the same identity and have navigated Columbia College or SEAS.  Mentors conduct social meetings and are open to talking with students about any questions or concerns that they have. 

What are some of the themes of our monthly meeting? What will we do in those meetings?

Our eight to nine student facilitators select themes for monthly meetings, so the programming is new and dynamic each year. Past themes have included:

  • social media and culture
  • "cancel culture"
  • accents and social power
  • how culture impacts our career choices
  • country boundaries and migration
  • standards of hygiene and beauty 
  • dating as it relates to expectations
  • how culture influences the spaces we live in

Student facilitators are volunteers who are given training on how to facilitate conversations and have been participants in GAP themselves. 

 

International at Columbia

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