Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity that can transform a student’s life. It allows individuals to step out of their comfort zones, embrace new cultures, and gain invaluable experiences that shape their personal and academic growth. One study abroad program that has left a lasting impact on students is the Florence Study Abroad Program.
For the past ten years, students from all over the world have flocked to Florence, Italy, to immerse themselves in the rich history, vibrant art scene, and breathtaking landscapes. As we reflect on the ten-year anniversary of the program, it’s important to acknowledge the profound influence it has had on countless individuals.
Not only does studying abroad offer students the chance to explore different countries, but it also provides them with opportunities to develop essential skills and broaden their perspectives. The Florence Study Abroad Program, in particular, has consistently offered a diverse range of academic and cultural experiences that have shaped students’ lives long after they return home.
Throughout this retrospective, we will delve into the significance of studying abroad, explore the impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program, highlight the academic and personal growth students experience, discuss the cultural immersion and intercultural competence they develop, and analyze the career benefits they gain. We will also address the challenges and obstacles study abroad students face, and the support and resources provided by the Florence Study Abroad Program. Finally, we will hear reflections from study abroad alumni and provide recommendations for future study abroad programs.
Whether you have been part of the Florence Study Abroad Program or are considering studying abroad in the future, this retrospective will offer insights into the transformative power of international education and the enduring legacy of the Florence program.
The Importance of Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is an integral part of a well-rounded education. It offers students the chance to expand their horizons, explore new cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the world. The importance of studying abroad cannot be overstated, as it provides numerous benefits that contribute to personal, academic, and professional growth.
One of the key reasons why studying abroad is so important is the exposure to different perspectives and ways of life. By living in a foreign country, students are immersed in a new culture, language, and environment. This exposure fosters open-mindedness, empathy, and a global outlook, which are invaluable traits in today’s interconnected world.
Additionally, studying abroad provides students with the opportunity to develop cross-cultural communication and adaptability skills. Navigating daily life in a different country requires students to step out of their comfort zones, overcome challenges, and find creative solutions. These skills are highly sought after by employers who value candidates with a global mindset and intercultural competence.
Another important aspect of studying abroad is academic enrichment. Many study abroad programs offer unique courses and specialized academic opportunities that are not available at the home university. Students have the chance to learn from world-renowned faculty, engage in hands-on learning experiences, and gain a deeper understanding of their field of study in a different cultural context.
Furthermore, studying abroad enhances language acquisition. Living in a country where the language is spoken allows students to practice and improve their language skills in a natural setting. This immersive language experience not only strengthens communication skills but also enhances cultural understanding and appreciation.
Lastly, studying abroad cultivates independence, resilience, and self-confidence. Being away from familiar surroundings and support systems pushes students to become more self-reliant and adaptable. They learn to navigate new environments, make decisions, and solve problems on their own, which fosters personal growth and maturity.
In summary, studying abroad is a transformative experience that offers countless benefits. From expanding cultural horizons to developing essential skills, students who study abroad gain a competitive edge in the global job market and become more well-rounded individuals. By embracing the importance of studying abroad, students embark on a journey of personal growth, academic enrichment, and cross-cultural understanding.
The Impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program
The Florence Study Abroad Program has made a profound impact on students’ lives over the past ten years. This program has provided students with a unique and immersive experience in one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. The impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program can be seen in various aspects, including academic and personal growth, cultural immersion, language acquisition, and career benefits.
One of the significant impacts of the Florence Study Abroad Program is the academic and personal growth it fosters in students. The program offers a diverse range of courses taught by experienced faculty members, allowing students to explore their academic interests in a new cultural context. The opportunity to study in Florence, with its rich history and artistic heritage, inspires creativity and intellectual curiosity. Students gain a deeper understanding of their subjects and develop critical thinking skills that are transferable to various academic and professional pursuits.
Cultural immersion is another key aspect of the Florence Study Abroad Program’s impact on students. Living in Florence provides a unique opportunity to fully embrace the Italian culture and way of life. From exploring historic landmarks like the Duomo and the Uffizi Gallery to indulging in authentic Italian cuisine, students immerse themselves in a vibrant and dynamic cultural experience. This immersion fosters a greater appreciation for different cultures, expands cultural competencies, and promotes intercultural understanding.
Language acquisition is also greatly influenced by the Florence Study Abroad Program. Students have the chance to learn Italian, one of the most beautiful and widely spoken languages in the world. Being surrounded by native speakers and practicing the language in everyday situations accelerates language learning. This fluency in a foreign language enhances communication skills, cultural understanding, and opens doors to future career opportunities.
The Florence Study Abroad Program also offers significant career benefits to students. Employers value the international experience and global perspective that comes with studying abroad. The program equips students with transferable skills such as adaptability, cross-cultural communication, and problem-solving, which are essential in today’s global workforce. The connections and networks formed during the program also provide students with opportunities for internships, research projects, and future employment.
Overall, the impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program is far-reaching. It shapes students’ academic, personal, and career trajectories. Through academic and personal growth, cultural immersion, language acquisition, and career benefits, the Florence Program leaves a lasting impression on students, empowering them to become global citizens and succeed in an increasingly interconnected world.
Academic and Personal Growth
The Florence Study Abroad Program offers students a unique opportunity for academic and personal growth. By studying in Florence, students are exposed to a rich artistic and cultural heritage that enhances their academic pursuits and broadens their horizons.
Academically, the program allows students to engage with renowned faculty members and access specialized courses that are not available at their home universities. The interdisciplinary nature of the program encourages students to explore new areas of study, fostering intellectual curiosity and expanding their academic repertoire.
From art history and architecture to fashion and cuisine, Florence serves as a living classroom for students to deepen their knowledge and understanding of various subjects. The city’s museums, historic sites, and vibrant cultural scene provide endless opportunities for research, hands-on learning, and academic exploration.
Moreover, the Florence Study Abroad Program promotes personal growth by challenging students to step out of their comfort zones and adapt to a new environment. Living in a foreign country requires independence and resilience, as students navigate daily life, make new friends, and overcome cultural and language barriers.
By immersing themselves in the Florentine community, students become more globally aware, developing a broader perspective and cross-cultural understanding. They learn to embrace diversity, appreciate different viewpoints, and communicate effectively across cultural boundaries. These interpersonal and intercultural skills are invaluable assets that contribute to personal growth and enhance students’ ability to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.
Additionally, the Florence Study Abroad Program encourages students to become more self-aware and reflective. The experience of living and studying abroad challenges students to question their assumptions, values, and beliefs. They gain a deeper understanding of their own cultural identity and values, as well as a greater appreciation for the diversity and complexity of the world around them.
Furthermore, studying abroad promotes self-confidence, as students navigate unfamiliar situations, adapt to new academic systems, and engage in meaningful conversations with people from different backgrounds. They develop problem-solving skills, resilience, and adaptability, qualities that are highly valued in personal, academic, and professional spheres.
In summary, the Florence Study Abroad Program contributes to both academic and personal growth. The program exposes students to new perspectives, deepens their understanding of various subjects, and enhances their interpersonal and intercultural skills. By challenging students academically and providing an environment for personal exploration, the program prepares them for success in their academic pursuits and personal endeavors long after their time in Florence has come to an end.
Cultural Immersion and Intercultural Competence
The Florence Study Abroad Program offers students a transformative experience of cultural immersion and the development of intercultural competence. By living in Florence, students have the unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves in the Italian culture, gaining a deeper understanding and appreciation for different ways of life.
Cultural immersion is a cornerstone of the Florence Study Abroad Program. Students are exposed to the rich history, art, cuisine, and traditions of Florence and its surrounding regions. They have the chance to visit renowned museums, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Accademia, where they can witness iconic masterpieces firsthand. They can also partake in local festivals, explore historical sites, and interact with the locals, embracing the vibrant atmosphere of the city.
By engaging with the local community, students are encouraged to step out of their comfort zones and embrace new experiences. They have the opportunity to learn about Italy’s cultural practices, customs, and social norms, and compare and contrast them with their own. This exposure fosters empathy, cross-cultural understanding, and the ability to adapt to different cultural contexts.
The Florence Study Abroad Program also promotes the development of intercultural competence. Students are encouraged to engage in meaningful interactions with people from diverse backgrounds, including local students, faculty, and fellow study abroad participants. Through these interactions, they learn to communicate effectively across cultural boundaries, navigate cultural nuances, and appreciate different perspectives.
Intercultural competence gained through the Florence program goes beyond mere tolerance or appreciation of other cultures. It encompasses a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness of the global community and the ability to work collaboratively across cultural differences. Students develop the skills to navigate cultural complexities, resolve conflicts, and build bridges across diverse groups.
Through the Florence program, students also have the opportunity to engage in community service and give back to the local community. This hands-on involvement fosters a sense of social responsibility and further enhances their intercultural competence. By actively participating in local initiatives, students gain a deeper understanding of social issues and cultural dynamics, ultimately becoming more globally aware and socially conscious individuals.
In summary, the Florence Study Abroad Program offers students a rich experience of cultural immersion and the development of intercultural competence. By living and interacting in an authentic Italian cultural context, students gain a deeper understanding of different cultures, enhance their global perspectives, and develop the skills to navigate and thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.
One of the significant benefits of the Florence Study Abroad Program is the opportunity for language acquisition. Living and studying in Florence allows students to immerse themselves in the Italian language, enhancing their language skills and cultural understanding.
By being surrounded by native Italian speakers, students have a unique opportunity to practice the language in their daily lives. Whether it’s ordering espresso at a local café, chatting with the locals, or attending classes conducted in Italian, students experience firsthand the rhythm, flow, and nuances of the Italian language.
This immersive language experience greatly accelerates language acquisition. Students not only learn grammar and vocabulary in a classroom setting, but they also have the chance to immediately apply what they’ve learned in real-life situations. This practical application of the language strengthens their conversational skills and builds their confidence in speaking Italian.
The Florence Program also offers language courses specifically designed to enhance students’ proficiency in Italian. These courses provide a structured approach to language learning, focusing on grammar, vocabulary, reading, writing, and speaking. Through interactive activities, role-plays, and language exercises, students develop their language skills in a supportive and engaging environment.
Furthermore, the language acquisition process goes beyond mastering grammar and vocabulary. By learning the Italian language, students gain a deeper appreciation for the culture, history, and traditions of Italy. Language is closely tied to culture, and by understanding the nuances and idioms of Italian, students gain insights into the Italian way of life.
Language acquisition also promotes intercultural competence. Through the study of Italian, students develop a better understanding of the values, social norms, and cultural practices of Italy. This cultural knowledge enables students to adapt more effectively and engage meaningfully with locals, fostering intercultural understanding and communication.
Moreover, proficiency in a foreign language opens doors to various career opportunities. In an increasingly globalized world, employers value candidates who possess language skills and can comfortably operate in multicultural environments. The language skills acquired during the Florence Study Abroad Program can enhance students’ resumes and give them a competitive edge in the job market.
In summary, the Florence Study Abroad Program provides students with a unique opportunity for language acquisition. Through immersion in the Italian language, structured language courses, and practical application, students develop their language skills, gain cultural knowledge, and enhance their intercultural competence. Proficiency in Italian not only enables students to communicate effectively but also enriches their personal and professional lives.
The Florence Study Abroad Program offers students numerous career benefits that can give them a competitive edge in today’s global job market. By participating in this program, students gain valuable skills, experiences, and networks that can greatly enhance their career prospects.
One of the key career benefits of the Florence program is the development of a global mindset. By living and studying abroad, students gain a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of different cultures and global issues. This global mindset is highly valued by employers who are increasingly seeking candidates with intercultural competence and the ability to work effectively in diverse teams.
The Florence Study Abroad Program also enhances essential transferable skills that are highly sought after in the professional world. Students develop adaptability, resilience, and problem-solving skills as they navigate a new cultural and academic environment. They learn to think critically, manage their time effectively, and work independently, all of which are traits that employers value in potential employees.
Additionally, participating in the Florence program allows students to build a strong international network. They have the opportunity to interact with students from different countries, engage with faculty members and professionals in their field of study, and establish connections with local organizations and businesses. These networks can provide valuable connections and career opportunities both during and after the program.
Language proficiency is another career benefit of the Florence program. Studying Italian and gaining fluency in a second language demonstrates dedication, cultural understanding, and adaptability. Language skills make individuals more marketable to employers who have international clients or who are looking for candidates with language abilities to bridge communication gaps.
Furthermore, the Florence program often offers internships, research opportunities, and practical experiences related to various fields of study. These experiential learning opportunities allow students to apply their academic knowledge in real-world settings, gaining practical skills and industry-specific experience. Such experiences can greatly bolster a student’s resume and set them apart from other job applicants.
Finally, the Florence Study Abroad Program helps students develop a strong sense of self and confidence. By tackling new challenges, navigating a different culture, and adapting to unfamiliar situations, students become more self-reliant, resilient, and self-assured. These qualities are highly valued by employers, as they indicate an individual’s ability to thrive in dynamic and ever-changing work environments.
In summary, the Florence Study Abroad Program offers students a wealth of career benefits. From the development of a global mindset to the enhancement of transferable skills, language proficiency, international networks, and practical experiences, students who participate in this program gain a competitive edge in the job market. The Florence program equips graduates with the tools they need to succeed in a global and interconnected professional world.
Challenges and Obstacles Faced by Study Abroad Students
While studying abroad can be an exciting and transformative experience, it is not without its challenges and obstacles. Students who participate in the Florence Study Abroad Program may encounter various difficulties that require adaptation, perseverance, and resilience.
One of the primary challenges faced by study abroad students is adjusting to a new cultural and social environment. Living in a foreign country comes with its own set of norms, customs, and social expectations. Students may face difficulties in understanding and adapting to these cultural nuances, which can initially lead to feelings of discomfort or isolation.
Language barriers can also pose a significant challenge for study abroad students. Although many study abroad programs, including the Florence Study Abroad Program, offer language courses, it takes time to become proficient in a new language. Students may face challenges in effectively communicating and understanding their surroundings, at least initially, which can be frustrating and require extra effort to overcome.
Homesickness is another common challenge experienced by study abroad students. Being away from familiar surroundings, family, and friends can lead to feelings of sadness and longing. Students may miss holidays, special occasions, and the comfort of their home environment. Coping with homesickness requires building a support system, staying connected with loved ones, and actively engaging in the local community.
Academic adjustments can present challenges as well. Different educational systems, teaching styles, and grading methods may require students to adapt their study habits and approach to learning. Additionally, the workload and expectations in a study abroad program may differ from those at their home university, requiring students to manage their time effectively and maintain academic rigor.
Health and safety considerations are also important challenges to consider. Being in a new environment means accessing healthcare systems and understanding local safety precautions. Students must be aware of any potential health risks, take necessary precautions, and be prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.
Financial management is yet another challenge for study abroad students. Budgeting, navigating currency exchange rates, and managing expenses in a foreign country can pose challenges. Students may need to adjust their spending habits, seek part-time employment opportunities, or seek advice from financial professionals to effectively manage their finances during their time abroad.
Despite these challenges, it is important to note that the Florence Study Abroad Program and many other study abroad programs provide support and resources to help students overcome these obstacles. Program advisors, on-site staff, and fellow students can offer guidance, support, and a sense of community.
By acknowledging the challenges and obstacles that may arise during their study abroad journey, students can proactively prepare, seek support, and approach their experiences with a mindset of resilience and adaptability. The ability to navigate and overcome these challenges will ultimately lead to personal growth, increased self-confidence, and a truly transformative study abroad experience.
Support and Resources Provided by the Florence Study Abroad Program
The Florence Study Abroad Program understands the importance of providing comprehensive support and resources to students, ensuring a successful and enriching experience. The program recognizes that studying abroad can present unique challenges and strives to offer various forms of assistance to help students navigate these obstacles.
One of the essential support systems provided by the Florence Study Abroad Program is access to knowledgeable and experienced program advisors. These advisors offer guidance and assistance throughout the entire study abroad journey, from pre-departure preparations to on-site support. They provide information on academic requirements, course selection, cultural adaptation, housing arrangements, and safety measures. Program advisors are a valuable resource for students, ensuring they have the information and support needed to make informed decisions and overcome any challenges that may arise.
The program also provides orientation sessions that help students acclimate to the new cultural and academic environment in Florence. These orientation sessions cover various topics, including cultural norms, local resources, safety guidelines, academic expectations, and support services available. By participating in these orientation programs, students gain a better understanding of what to expect and are well-prepared to navigate their study abroad experience.
On-site staff members play a crucial role in supporting students throughout their time in Florence. They serve as a point of contact for students, helping them with any questions, concerns, or emergencies that may arise. The on-site staff can offer advice on local healthcare, provide information on cultural events and activities, and help students connect with the local community. Their presence and availability provide students with a sense of security and reassurance.
In addition to the program staff, the Florence Study Abroad Program often facilitates partnerships with local universities and organizations. These partnerships offer various support services, including language tutors, peer mentoring programs, and access to libraries and other academic resources. Collaboration with these institutions ensures that students have the necessary support and resources to succeed both academically and socially during their time abroad.
The Florence Study Abroad Program also fosters a strong sense of community among participants. Through organized events, group activities, and excursions, students have the opportunity to connect and build relationships with their peers. This community support system provides a platform for students to share experiences, seek advice, and form lasting friendships.
Furthermore, the program encourages students to take advantage of the cultural and social resources available in Florence. Students are encouraged to explore the city, participate in local events, and engage in activities that promote cultural immersion and personal growth. The program provides information on cultural events, museums, and local attractions, allowing students to fully embrace the rich culture and heritage of their host city.
Overall, the Florence Study Abroad Program is committed to providing comprehensive support and resources to help students navigate the challenges and make the most of their study abroad experience. With dedicated program advisors, orientation sessions, on-site staff, partnerships with local institutions, and a sense of community, students are well-equipped to thrive academically, culturally, and personally during their time in Florence.
Reflections from Study Abroad Alumni
Hearing from study abroad alumni can provide valuable insights into the long-lasting impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program. The experiences and reflections of these alumni affirm the transformative nature of studying abroad and the enduring value it holds.
Many study abroad alumni describe their time in Florence as a life-changing experience. They often speak of the personal growth they experienced, the lifelong friendships they formed, and the profound impact it had on their perspective of the world. Florence, with its rich history, art, and culture, left an indelible mark on their lives.
Alumni reflect on how their study abroad experience broadened their horizons and challenged their preconceived notions. They gained a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity and learned to approach situations with a more open and empathetic mindset. This shift in perspective allowed them to develop a greater understanding and acceptance of different cultures and viewpoints.
Study abroad alumni often express gratitude for the academic opportunities they had in Florence. They recall engaging with world-renowned faculty, taking unique courses, and having hands-on experiences that enriched their academic journey. Many alumni credit their study abroad experience for sparking intellectual curiosity, inspiring further academic pursuits, and shaping their career paths.
Language acquisition is a common theme among study abroad alumni reflections. They highlight the importance of being immersed in the Italian language and how it significantly improved their language skills. Alumni often describe how learning Italian allowed them to form deeper connections with locals, appreciate the nuances of the culture, and gain a sense of belonging in a foreign country.
Moreover, alumni reflect on the personal connections they made during their time in Florence. They recall forming lifelong friendships with fellow study abroad participants and locals, creating a global network of friends that extends far beyond their time abroad. These connections not only enriched their study abroad experience but have also provided ongoing support and cultural exchange in their lives since returning home.
Alumni also share stories of overcoming challenges and navigating unfamiliar territory. They highlight instances where they stepped out of their comfort zones, faced language barriers, or adapted to cultural differences. These challenges, while initially daunting, became valuable learning experiences that fostered independence, resilience, and personal growth.
Overall, the reflections from study abroad alumni demonstrate the enduring impact that the Florence Study Abroad Program has had on their lives. From personal growth and expanded worldview to academic enrichment and lifelong connections, the alumni testify to the transformative power of studying abroad. Their stories serve as a testament to the remarkable experiences and lasting benefits that students can gain from participating in the Florence Study Abroad Program.
Recommendations for Future Study Abroad Programs
As the Florence Study Abroad Program celebrates its ten-year anniversary, it is essential to reflect on its successes and consider recommendations for future study abroad programs. The following recommendations aim to enhance the overall experience and ensure continued excellence in providing students with transformative opportunities.
First and foremost, future study abroad programs should prioritize cultural immersion. Encouraging students to engage with the local community, organizing cultural activities, and facilitating meaningful interactions with locals are essential for fostering a deep understanding and appreciation of the host country’s culture. Building connections with the local community through internships, volunteering, and community service projects can further enrich the cultural immersion experience.
Secondly, language acquisition should remain a focal point. Study abroad programs should continue to offer language courses and provide resources for students to practice the local language outside the classroom. Language support in the form of language exchange programs, conversation groups, and language tutors can further enhance students’ language learning experience.
Another recommendation is to promote interdisciplinary learning. Study abroad programs should offer a diverse range of courses that cater to various academic interests. Collaborations with local universities and institutions can provide access to specialized courses and unique academic opportunities that align with students’ areas of study. This interdisciplinary approach fosters intellectual curiosity and enables students to explore new subjects and perspectives.
Furthermore, future study abroad programs should prioritize proactive support for students. Pre-departure orientations should cover essential information on health and safety, cultural norms, academic expectations, and available resources. On-site staff should be readily available to address students’ concerns and provide assistance throughout the program. Establishing clear channels of communication and providing resources for mental health support are also crucial for ensuring the overall wellbeing of students.
To create a sense of community, future study abroad programs should encourage regular interactions and collaboration among participants. Organizing group activities, cultural excursions, and events that facilitate social bonding can enhance the sense of connection among students. Peer mentoring programs, where returning students mentor incoming participants, can also foster a supportive community and provide guidance based on personal experiences.
Lastly, study abroad programs should actively seek feedback from participants to continually improve and adapt to students’ needs. Regular evaluations and surveys can provide valuable insights into the strengths and areas for improvement of the program. Incorporating student suggestions and involving them in the decision-making process can create a more inclusive and student-centered study abroad experience.
In summary, future study abroad programs should prioritize cultural immersion, language acquisition, interdisciplinary learning, proactive support, community-building, and feedback mechanisms. By implementing these recommendations, study abroad programs can continue to provide students with transformative experiences that broaden their horizons, foster personal and academic growth, and prepare them to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world.
The Florence Study Abroad Program has left an indelible mark on students over the past ten years. Through its emphasis on cultural immersion, academic enrichment, and personal growth, this program has provided students with transformative experiences that have shaped their lives.
Studying abroad in Florence offers students the opportunity to expand their horizons, gain a global perspective, and develop essential skills for the future. The program’s emphasis on cultural immersion allows students to fully embrace the rich history, art, and cuisine of the city, fostering intercultural understanding and appreciation.
Academically, the Florence program offers a diverse range of courses taught by world-class faculty, providing students with unique academic opportunities. From exploring centuries-old architecture to studying works of Renaissance art, students have the opportunity to engage with their subjects in a new cultural context, further enhancing their intellectual growth and sparking lifelong curiosity.
Personal growth is an integral part of the Florence experience. Students are challenged to step out of their comfort zones, adapt to a new environment, and develop essential life skills such as resilience, independence, and cross-cultural communication. Living and learning in Florence enables students to become more self-aware, open-minded, and globally conscious individuals.
The impact of the Florence Study Abroad Program extends beyond academic and personal development. Language acquisition, career benefits, and lifelong connections are among the many positive outcomes of participating in the program. Students gain proficiency in Italian, opening doors to future travel, work, and cultural exploration. The program also equips students with skills and experiences that are highly valued by employers in an increasingly globalized job market.
Reflections from study abroad alumni highlight the enduring impact of the Florence program. Alumni speak of the life-changing experiences, growth, and friendships that continue to influence their lives long after their time in Florence. Their stories reinforce the transformative power of studying abroad and the enduring value it holds.
As the Florence Study Abroad Program looks ahead to future endeavors, it is important to consider the recommendations outlined to ensure continued excellence. By prioritizing cultural immersion, interdisciplinary learning, language acquisition, proactive support, community-building, and feedback mechanisms, future study abroad programs can continue to provide transformative experiences for students.
In conclusion, the Florence Study Abroad Program has proven to be a catalyst for personal, academic, and cultural growth. The program has impacted the lives of students, fostering intercultural understanding, broadening perspectives, and equipping them with the skills and experiences necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. The Florence Study Abroad Program has undoubtedly left a lasting legacy that will continue to inspire and transform the lives of students for years to come.