Kate Mattingly Learch, MBA
Director of Study Abroad, International Business
Kate Mattingly Learch knows first-hand how transformational cultural immersion programs can be. She spent a summer living with a family and studying Spanish in Cuernavaca, Mexico and, after earning a BA in Linguistics from the University of Florida in 2001, she joined the Peace Corps and spent 2 years volunteering in Aktobe, Kazakhstan. Her service with the Peace Corps included a 6-week home-stay during an intensive language, culture and practical training. Her experience as a Peace Corps volunteer deepened her appreciation for cultural and language immersion and made her more compassionate toward non-US citizens living in the US.
At the end of her commitment with the Peace Corps, Ms. Learch made her way back to the University of Florida and earned an MBA. Her educational background and rich experiences abroad proved to be just what the Coggin College of Business was looking for in a Study Abroad Advisor for their International Business Flagship Program. Since 2007, Ms. Learch has supported the inherently transformational learning opportunity that is study abroad by meeting with students to discuss their academic goals and guide them through the selection and application processes, conducting required pre-departure orientations, organizing re-entry sessions for returned students, and providing opportunities for these returnees to share their experiences with future study abroad participants.
Understanding that it takes more than simply traveling to a foreign country to be transformed by it, Ms. Learch focused much of her time as a Community Scholar refining the pre-departure orientations and re-entry sessions. The pre-departure orientation now includes a Q&A with semester abroad alumni and an intercultural communication simulation, and the re-entry session is now a more formal debriefing that offers students the opportunity to galvanize their thoughts and feelings and package these experiences in ways that help advance their personal and career goals. Ms. Learch is currently working to enhance Coggin College of Business students' study abroad experiences by developing and managing international reciprocal double degrees at the undergraduate level..
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