After 14 months of construction, the University of Central Florida officially opened the Global UCF building located centrally on Memory Mall.
The building has 22 classrooms, three floors, more than 100 employees and is a total of 54,000 square-feet.
UCF’s international community moved into this building in the beginning of May and on Oct. 1 Global UCF should have its certificate of completion.
Over 200 people RSVP’d for the opening, where President John C. Hitt and three UCF students spoke about the importance of an international institution. After the address, there was a ceremonial ribbon cutting and guests were encouraged to take a self-guided tour.
The $16 million building brings all of UCF’s international activities together under one roof and houses three main units: Global UCF, the English Language Institute and International Affairs and Global Strategies.
The three units work together to recruit students to UCF, introduce them to the value of the English Language Institute and help them become a full degree seeking UCF student.
Hitt said he has always had a view of internationalization for UCF. The president spoke about the commitment UCF has to “high impact international study,” and how “the marketplace of today and tomorrow demands inter-cultural interaction,” and that is what Global UCF symbolizes.
“It’s really a celebration of the mission of the building,” said Cynthia Young, Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence and International Affairs and Global Strategies. “It’s been a great recruiting tool for us because this is unparalleled in the state of Florida in terms of other universities in the state of Florida having a global building.”
Ximena Gonzalez started learning as an international student in a small office next to the CFE arena where she sat at a table and was able to hear different languages all around her.
Gonzales spoke at the opening and said that international students and their teachers “truly are a big multi-cultural family.” She also spoke about Global UCF helping students grow. “Global UCF gave me the tools and the ability to accomplish anything,” she said.
International Affairs and Global Strategies employee and Assistant Director of Study Abroad, Oliver McSurley said that Global UCF is “a student services team that is really trying to connect everyone to an international experience in one way or another.”
After studying abroad during his undergraduate career, McSurley said “one of the more exciting elements of a university experience is taking that university experience international.” Study abroad is a large part of UCF and he thinks it “has a tremendous impact on every student that does it.”
“When I think of study abroad, I think of broadening my horizons as well,” participant Arlena Durant said.
Currently, UCF sends about 500 people abroad and has around 800 international students. By 2020, Global UCF hopes to have 3000 students abroad and 3000 international students.