Global Studies in Education: The Student Perspective

by Tom Hanlon  /   Sep 21, 2018

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William Baptist grew up in Baltimore, went to college in Delaware, taught for five years in Japan, and now is an international student services adviser at Coastal Carolina University in Conway, South Carolina.

But he will always have a soft spot in his heart for Urbana and Champaign in Illinois.

Baptist earned his master’s degree in 2017 in Global Studies in Education (GSE) from the University of Illinois.

“I love the College of Education and I love the University of Illinois,” he says.

Baptist chose the GSE program, he says, because it connected to his professional experience in international education and international relations.

“The program itself, with its concentration in international education and administration and leadership, goes hand in hand with the work that I do and with my career,” he says. “It was a combination of opportunity, personnel, and reputation.”

It was the personnel that stood out the most for Baptist.

“I didn’t meet a single person who was just there doing a job,” he says. “Dr. Witt [Allison Witt, director of the Office of International Programs and a faculty member in the GSE program], she lives this work. It’s her passion.”

It was Witt’s passion that prompted Baptist to take a study-abroad trip to Indonesia, a trip that impacted him greatly.

“I tell people if Dr. Witt tells you something, do it,” Baptist says. “I took that trip and it was like wow, she was right.”

But it wasn’t just Witt, he says.

“I didn’t have one uninvolved professor,” he says. “They were all very invested in the program and the students. They are living the life, they understand the field, they understand how your education interacts with that, and they’ve built a program that impacts fresh graduates and experienced professionals in equal measure.

“The faculty does not make you feel like there are 45,000 students on that campus. The people in the College of Education are unparalleled.”