ROTC cadets travel abroad, gain cultural understanding
ROTC cadets can travel abroad to experience the lifestyles of other countries through programs such as “Project Global Officer” and “Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency,” which help cadets develop an international outlook for future military or professional goals, according to cadets who participated this summer.
“ROTC isn’t all about doing PT and going to war; there’s so many other opportunities you have to make you a better person, even if you don’t decide to make the military your career-and this is one of them,” senior diplomacy major Wesley Satterwhite said.
Satterwhite participated in the “Project Global Officer” program and lived in Uzbekistan. The program is run by the Department of Defense and started after the Iraq war.
The biggest benefit, he said, was being so close to Afghanistan, a country he might be stationed in at some point. “I would already know some of the cultural norms if I were to go to Afghanistan next year or whenever I graduate,” Satterwhite said.
Cadets can get paid or receive class credits or earn study abroad credits for participating in these programs, according to Senior Brian Giles, who went to Costa Rica with CULP. Cadets must apply and be accepted into the program.
Giles worked in a humanitarian branch of the program in Costa Rica.
He taught English lessons to children at a school and helped out for a week at an orphanage. “At the end there was this one kid who I became really close with and the day I was leaving he asked me to take him back to the U.S.,” Giles said. “I left him and gave him money and different trinkets from the U.S. … he was knocking on the door of the van as we drove away.”
The cadets agree that these experiences are beneficial not only for ROTC cadets who might have a job outside of the U.S. after college, but even for those who choose a different route. Junior Brenton Warn said he had his first professional experience in an internship in Germany.
“You really just get a broader understanding of the way the world works,” Warn said, “the world that you’ll be operating in.” Warn said. He said the professional experience he received in Germany has given him confidence in being held accountable and taking care of ROTC tasks today.
Mary Marshall can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.