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OUS employee selected for global initiative: Bailey will travel to Vietnam, Thailand

An Ohio University Southern staff member will join fourteen university employees selected for a unique global engagement program. Ashlie Bailey, a retention specialist for Southern, will leave for Vietnam and Thailand next month as part of OHIO Global Connections: Professional Development Initiative to strengthen university-wide global engagement efforts. The program strives to promote outbound mobility OUS students, faculty and staff. It also encourages strong global partnerships and research initiatives while fostering a diverse and inclusive environment for the university community.

Bailey and the OUS cohort will travel to the two Asian countries for an immersive experience that will involve connecting with counterparts at universities. The OUS group will learn about the culture and history of the host countries, engage with OUS alumni, and participate in community service. 

Bailey, of South Point, applied for this project as a way to explore breaking out of her “comfort zone in (her) personal life and at work.” She said the experience will provide exposure to cultural differences that she may not experience in Southern Ohio.  “The opportunity to travel and network in Vietnam and Thailand will give me new perspectives and ideas to bring back to the OUS community, and it’s an opportunity to learn new ways and re-think old ones,” she said.

In her work at Southern, Bailey works with students “helping them (be) successful.” She said the experience abroad will teach her new ways to adapt to students’ needs and learn to see beyond “our safe walls,” daring to take risks. “I hope to learn new opportunities to help make Ohio University Southern a more inclusive environment and provide training opportunities for the campus and the community on how to create a more inclusive campus,” said Bailey. Upon her return, she hopes to share with the campus and community what she learned during her visit to the two countries. She also hopes to connect and network with Vietnamese and Thai community members in the Tri- State area.

The OHIO Global Connections group will depart May 10 for Vietnam, where they will spend five days in Ho Chi Minh City (formally known as Saigon.) There, they will tour the Cu Chi Tunnels and Education Abroad Opportunities in Vietnam. The group will learn about the country’s education system and network with university counterparts from RMIT University Vietnam. The tour will include visits to several high schools and meetings with students, local cultural activities and foods, and networking with OUS alumni in Ho Chi Minh. Before departing Vietnam, the group will tour the Mekong Delta and visit the rice market, ancient houses, and floating fruit gardens.

The group will also spend five days in Thailand that will include tours of Chiang Mai and historical sites, information about the country’s cultural values and Thai food, and networking with OUS alumni. The group will visit a university in Chiang Mai and participate in an elephant program and Elephant Parade art workshop, with proceeds going to elephant conservation.

Bailey is eager to share information about southern Ohio, the Lawrence County community, and OUS as part of the trip. “I want to share that our small campus and smaller class sizes provide students a great opportunity to establish valuable relationships,” she said. “I want to share the challenges we face in our area and with our students and how we overcome those challenges,” Bailey said. She said she hopes to impart OUS’s efforts to promote inclusion as well as the value of an Ohio University degree.

The OHIO delegation will learn about global mobility models, such as study abroad or exchange programs and OHIO Regional Higher Education’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program, which brings students and teachers in culturally and geographically distant locations together through technology. The cohort travel program will be led by Catherine Marshall, director of the Office of Global Opportunities, and Jeffrey Shane, Southeast Asia reference librarian, and facilitated by an on-site program coordinator from CISabroad.