Melanie Smith is the Study Abroad Coordinator at Savannah State University. She will be in this position for 8 years in February of 2022. She is also a member of the Tigers Den.
Smith’s position has been augmented since the start of Covid-19. Covid has pretty much taken a large skid in her career. In order to stay relevant since International was taking a huge hit, she took the opportunity to expand in experimental learning for students.
“I wanted to make sure the students knew we were still thinking about them,” Melanie Smith said.
She started kayaking and bicycle tours with the students, as well as taking them to the new bicycle path that the city of Savannah has built. These things can still be done and social distancing is the very importance of finding new ways and still making connections.
Back when she was an undergrad, she also studied abroad, and was an exchange student from the Netherlands where she had attended school. Although, she wasn’t too crazy about the cold weather.
Smith explained how being there changed her life, and how she learned their native language, Dutch, although she can’t speak it very well today. Smith invested into language learning options through Rosetta Stone so that if students want to learn a new language, they can.
Smith did the exchange the last semester of her senior year, and her very first trip was to Brussels, Belgium.
Before she was the study abroad coordinator, Smith wore several hats. She was a retail manager, a news producer at WJCL and WSAV, a radio personality at Mix 97.3, and an academic advisor at an institution.
Smith has done some very exciting things, but she is most excited about what she wants more students to know about what is happening.
As of right now, Smith has stated that last summer she received a grant that is set to pay for 25 passports for freshmen that are pell eligible. She still has at least 15 left.
Smith is urging freshmen to take advantage of this, because coming up in the Spring of 2022, she is doing an exchange for the very first time in South Korea.
All students have to do is put together information they’ll need for the passport.
During the week, November 1st through the 5th, she finished her Doctorate in education at Valdosta State. A BIG congratulations to her.