Sophomore Joe Papp grew up in Nicholasville ― just down the road from UK's campus. At first, he thought he needed to look at universities further away from his hometown because he had an itch to travel and discover other cultures.
But during his college decision process, the chemical engineering major had a revelation.
"As I began to talk to more people who were applying to UK and went on the Facebook group, I saw that there were people from all over who attend UK," Papp said. "I realized that even though it's just down the road from me, I would still have the opportunity to meet so many people from different backgrounds."
Papp then discovered UK's Global Village Living Learning Program located in Smith Hall.
"They match students from here in the U.S. with international students as roommates so it's a great opportunity to learn more about different cultures, and to just hang out with people from all around the world," said Papp. "I really wanted to do that and I didn't see that offered at other schools. And since I'm really interested in international cultures, that's something that drew me to UK."
"My residence hall is probably the biggest community that I am most involved with because everybody in the Global Village has similar interests," he said. "Anytime I feel like hanging out with someone, I can just walk out into the lobby or knock on someone's door and feel welcomed to hang out with them."
While the Global Village has allowed Papp to find his own community, it has also expanded his worldview. "My experience has allowed me to make connections with people from Ethiopia, Europe, different countries in Asia ― just, all over. It's kind of like study abroad here, at UK, but it also provides those connections that when I do study abroad, I'll be able to know people in those countries."
Papp relied on his Global Village experiences this past summer when studied abroad in Argentina, coordinated through UK Education Abroad in the Office of International Affairs. He hopes both the time in his residence hall and future trips studying abroad will help him reach his goal of working in the engineering field in another part of the world.
"It's just something inside of me that makes me want to learn about others," he said. "UK has already given me the opportunity to meet people from all over the world."
So, even though Papp is a mere 15-20 minute drive from his hometown, he's convinced that UK has already set the foundation for a future of building communities with people across the globe.