Every year, thousands of ROTC cadets from around the country seek out the opportunity to spend their summer in the Cultural Understanding and Leadership Program (CULP) where they have the chance to immerse themselves in a new culture while engaging in international military training and humanitarian outreach.
Junior diplomacy major Casey Bischoff competed and was chosen as one of about 1,000 cadets sent overseas to more than 20 countries this year. Bischoff specifically requested to be sent to Africa, and began making her way to Senegal with her cadre of cadets on June 30.
On the trip, she participated in Military to Military training exchanges, Community Outreach and Cultural Exchanges with people in Senegal where she not only had the chance to teach classes to the Senegalese military and locals, but learn from them as well.
It was on her visits to the villages of Sam and St. Louis that she was able to practice her servant leadership and display the charity of her Alpha Gamma Delta sorority and the Seton Hall community which provided her with clean clothes to give out to local children.
"It's such an important program for cadets like me to be encouraged to build leadership not only in our ROTC and potential service experience, but wherever we end up in life," Bischoff said.
The key lessons from the on-campus and national ROTC program illustrate the importance of understanding different world cultures and using that understanding to cadets' advantage once they commission as Second Lieutenants in the Army.
"That understanding," Bischoff explained, "will help them to lead soldiers from all over the nation with different upbringings and experiences, and to be able to bring a diverse group of people together to work as a team."
Bischoff was able to experience a glimpse of that when she shared her program experience with other cadets from all over the country as they worked as a team to learn as much as possible about a culture completely different from their own.
The cadets returned from Senegal on July 23, ending their weeks-long cultural and learning exchange.
"Experience-wise, it's been great to get the opportunity to communicate with and learn from others from another culture. I would do it again in a heartbeat," Bischoff added.
Bischoff feels the summer program, along with her ROTC courses and studies at the School of Diplomacy, have inspired her to pursue a career in the field of counter-terrorism intelligence.
Categories: Nation and World