Leadership Without Limits students prepare for Thailand trip

Savannah Smith, Staff Writer

Leadership Without Limits students prepare to go back home from South Korea in 2016               photo courtesy | Leadership Without Limits 



Savannah Smith | Staff Writer

For the 5th year in a row, A&M-Commerce students are getting ready for a special genre of study abroad know as Leadership Without Limits (LWL).

Students have been required to attended weekly meetings since September to educate themselves on Thai culture and leadership, and held fundraisers for the past several months. Immediately following graduation this May, the 16 students and 2 facilitators involved will travel to Thailand for two weeks to gain a deeper appreciation for the country they have studied.

“Leadership Without Limits is trying to get our students to go abroad in a leadership context,” the Leadership Engagement and Development Department (L.E.A.D.) Director Danielle Davis said. “We talk about different aspects of the culture and leadership form, such as the type of government, the educational system, or any preconceived notions about the country’s culture.”

Davis has overseen the program since she proposed it in 2014. Since then, LWL has visited Italy, Spain, South Korea, and New Zealand. The program differs from other study abroad trips in that it emphasizes learning about a country prior to visiting it, and serving the community’s interest rather than just sightseeing.

“While we were in New Zealand, we met dozens of people from dozens of countries all over the world,” previous participant, Shelby Patterson said. “I didn’t just try New Zealand food, I tried Thai food. I didn’t just learn about New Zealand’s history, I learned about Australia’s and Britain’s history. I didn’t just learn things from my New Zealand friends, I learned all sorts of things from my new Canadian, Chinese, and German friends!”

On Wednesday Feb. 7, the LWL students hosted a Valentine’s Day themed silent auction in the Rayburn Student Center to fundraise and earn a combined total of $6,000 to $8,000. On Feb. 19, LWL students will hold another fundraising event in coordination with Panda Express. Other future fundraisers will include bake sales, restaurant fundraisers, selling t-shirts, and much more.

All students are eligible to apply for LWL the April before their junior or senior year. The students selected are required to assist in research and fundraising throughout the fall and spring semesters, as well as contributing $600 each, but they are rewarded with a greater understanding of other cultures, an improvement of their fundamental leadership skills, and a family-like bond with their fellow travelers.