Border-Free Georgia College

Photo of successive blue-colored mountain ridges receding into the distance.

What is Border-Free education at Georgia College?

Border-Free education at Georgia College leverages the online environment to extend international opportunities to more - to all - GC students, faculty and staff.

  • “Border” is understood here not only in the sense of a boundary separating geographical entities, but also in the sense of a barrier to be surpassed or, ideally, eliminated.

Conceiving of education in a border-free way makes it possible for all GC students - and faculty and staff - to benefit from international education and to acquire international experience.

  • GC's International Education Center is currently exploring border-free opportunities with partner universities and providers on five continents.
Some Border-Free Examples

Border-Free Study Abroad (Responses to 2020 Pandemic):

Other Examples of Border-Free Programming

Summary of some Fall 2020 semester Border-Free events as reported in the October edition of the International Education Center's newsletter, GC Global.

A note about Border-Free and the GC International Club from the November, 2020 edition of GC Global:

International Club Enjoys An "Incredibly Enlightening" Experience

On Sunday, November 15th, Georgia College’s International Club and their counterparts, Hong Kong Baptist University’s Mini ISO, hosted a virtual Pop Quiz event. In total, over sixty students from across the globe participated, including GC international alumni who joined from their home nations. Participants met via Zoom, and then were divided into ten groups and sent to “break-out” rooms. Each group was comprised of one officer from one of the clubs and of combined students from both GC and HKBU. The moderator in each group facilitated introductions and fun conversations before, during, and after each quiz. There were four rounds of trivia "Pop" quizzes (10 questions in each round). The students worked together to answer the questions and to win the round. The group that answered the most questions in each round in the least amount of time, won the round. Prizes included subscriptions to Netflix provided by HKBU and Georgia College merchandise. All participants received branded merchandise from their counterpart schools.

GC International Club Vice-President Miller Zerfas said this about the event: "The collaboration between Georgia College and Hong Kong Baptist University was an incredible experience. ... The international community is one of the most diverse out there simply by its nature, but I think that one of the strongest parts of person-to-person interaction in any community is seeing how much in common you truly share. This came to light even from the beginning of the planning stages."

"When we entered the event proper," he continued, "my group was extremely diverse with students such as our Spanish exchange students, all the way to international students studying in Hong Kong. I noticed that the students within my group almost instantly connected with one another as if they had all gone to the same classes at GCSU. With the style of the trivia contest, there were many questions where only one person might know the answer thanks to his or her background, and everyone truly relied on their peers equally - regardless of national borders."

"I truly believe," Zerfas concluded, "that this peer-to-peer interaction and connection forming is incredibly enlightening [and] I am so thankful to have been able to broaden my perspective of the world. I just hope that we can collaborate again with them soon!"

Resources for Faculty (Coming Soon)

Comprehensive resources will be available on the GC intranet from here.

Emerging Categories/Opportunities

Border-Free Study Abroad: Program directors develop opportunities based upon learning outcomes and utilize technology to connect students with international content and experiences, plus experts, organizations, and political and community leaders.  

  • Such programs must follow standard guidelines for academic integrity and cultural sensitivity, plus follow fiscal protocols and best practices for online health and safety. 
  • Proposals are submitted to the International Education Center following departmental and college approvals.  Instructions and online resources forthcoming.

Border-Free Classroom: Faculty may incorporate any level of internationalization into their classes, from a single guest lecturer abroad, to ongoing conversations and group projects among students here and overseas, and even co-taught/co-coordinated and co-attended courses.  The latter are particularly effective when mixed teams of students collaborate on projects and co-present.

  • Simple classroom endeavors should be coordinated through the faculty member’s home department and – for internal and USG tracking purposes- with BANNER course coding requirements included.  Instructions and resources forthcoming.  
  • Co-taught courses (and similar) must be coordinated through the faculty member’s home department and school, plus Academic Affairs and the International Education Center.  Details forthcoming.

Border-Free Academic Programming: These outside-of-the-classroom learning opportunities open the conversation to a larger audience, expanding beyond one class or even a group of classes.  

  • Topics may be interdisciplinary in nature and incorporate participants from multiple institutions or organizations, plus they may be one-time or ongoing collaborations.  Resources and registries (etc.) forthcoming.

Border-Free Student Development: These opportunities allow students to connect with other students abroad in a more social and easy-going manner or atmosphere.  

  • Connecting non-academic student groups with similar groups abroad allows students to develop and practice intercultural communication, plus problem-finding/problem-solving, and teamwork skills while also developing networks and fostering friendship and camaraderie around the world.  Resources, registry and other information forthcoming.
  • Example: The GC International Club is already collaborating electronically with a similar organization in Hong Kong.

Border-Free Faculty and Staff Professional Development: Connect with colleagues abroad to explore in-depth topics of interest or concern, and find out what others have done, are doing – and what they think – plus share opinions and solutions from the GC side.  Resources, registry, and other information forthcoming.

  • Whether it’s the pursuit of collaborative research or cross-cultural perspectives on day-to-day tasks, this is a great way to evolve, grow, and expand knowledge, plus gain valuable insight and solutions.

Border-Free has been developed to more easily put the world at the finger-tips of the Georgia College community.  The International Education Center is happy to assist faculty, students and staff in connecting with colleagues at our exchange partners and elsewhere, and to other professional contacts throughout the world.  

  • For more information about this exciting, innovative, and award-winning initiative, or if you have any questions - or related ideas or needs not covered by the above - contact the International Education Center.