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Tatyana Boddie applies international studies, internship to communicate across cultures

Tatyana Boddie outside the Auburn Korea Center

International studies senior Tatyana Boddie works to build relationships across cultures, on campus and off, through her work with student organizations and Auburn’s Korea Center.

Boddie chose Auburn for its international studies program, which offers a flexible course framework to personalize the Auburn education to students’ career goals. Through the program, Boddie focuses on political science, anthropology and Korean.

“I really get to tailor my classes based on the fact that I’m interested in cultures and languages around the world, but also dig a little deeper into their politics as well and how they work within the world,” Boddie said. “Because it’s a small program, I got to form really great relationships with our wonderful director and advisor. I’m still looking to see what I want to do with my life, I have a couple of different options and interests, but with international studies, I can kind of do what I want.”

To support other students in the international studies major, Boddie founded and now serves as president of the Leadership Association for Practicing International Studies, or LAPIS.

LAPIS connects international studies students through networking events, guest speakers, conversational language practice, world holiday celebrations and events forums.

Boddie said the association helps create a support system within the major that helps members find scholarships or study abroad opportunities and build professional development skills.

“International studies is a brand new major, so when I started out, I had a lot of questions and I really wanted to see what other people were doing,” Boddie said. “But it was kind of hard to get in contact with people who were in my major, so I really wanted to create a club or organization where people in my major could come and mingle and get to know each other and ask questions. Now that I’m a senior in this program, I can give direction to other people but also receive direction.”

Boddie currently works as an intern at the Korea Center-King Sejong Institute at Auburn. The center hosts cultural experiences, led by scholars and interns visiting from South Korea, that extend through the Auburn-Opelika community. Their annual events include Chuseok, Korea Fest and the K-Pop Party.

As an intern, Boddie helps coordinate education about the Korean language and culture, while building her own language and intercultural skills.

“Effective intercultural communication is the best way to challenge ethnocentric thinking,” Boddie said. “When you can understand other people’s cultures, and other people understand yours, it creates a comfortable environment for people to ask questions and connect. And I think the cornerstone of all people, of humanity, is relationships. If you’re able to communicate with people beyond a language boundary, beyond a cultural boundary, there are some wonderful connections that you can make.”

Boddie received the Internship Enrichment Scholarship this semester, sponsored by the Office of Career Services in the College of Liberal Arts. The Internship Enrichment Scholarship provides up to $3,000 to CLA students who have secured an internship closely related to their career goals and who need financial support to complete it.

She said the scholarship relieved the financial burden of living expenses so she could focus on her professional development opportunities.

“My internship is currently unpaid, and so I was not able to get a job while working as I am completely financially independent from my parents,” Boddie said. “It has helped me in ways that cannot be explained. Had I not been able to receive that scholarship and had been forced to work, I don’t think that I would’ve been able to put 100 percent of myself into my internship or this club.”

For more information about International Studies in the College of Liberal Arts, visit here.

Tags: World Languages Literatures and Cultures Students

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