Mapping Global Experiences at LMU

August 19, 2022

Will Lighthart '21 in Paris
William Lighthart '21, visiting the Eiffel Tower.

William Lighthart ’21 took President Timothy Snyder’s invitation to embrace a global imagination to the next level by having not one, but three international experiences while a student at Loyola Marymount University. Upon graduating the pursuit of a global education did not cease, as Lighthart is now pursuing a Master of Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po PSIA in Paris, France.  

The International Relations and History double major has words of wisdom for LMU students who may want to follow in his footsteps. “My primary advice is to be relentless in your efforts to apply and secure funding for global experiences,” said Lighthart. “I was rejected from various opportunities throughout my time on the Bluff and an experience better suited for my aspirations always came along eventually. Once you are taking part in a global experience, it is always only what you make of it. If you are willing to completely immerse yourself in an opportunity, it will be transformative.”  

Read more about William Lighthart’s global experiences with LMU below.  


What was your first global experience at LMU? 

In Summer 2018, I studied language, history, and culture at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. I received full funding through the LMU Center for International Business Education (CIBE) John P. Daly Scholarship. My summer in Seoul gave me my first experience with culture shock. Through the training and guidance provided by LMU CIBE, I expected to feel culture shock, but was surprised by how some of the subtle cultural differences may have impact on immersion experiences. Through this experience, I experienced the importance of immersion to enhance language learning. This summer abroad affirmed my interest in taking my learning outside of the classroom and outside of the country.  

WWF Internship in Beijing

What was your second global experience at LMU?  

In Summer 2019, I received full funding through the LMU History Department’s Ferdinand Verbiest Award and Career and Professional Development’s Summer Internship Grant to pursue an internship, language and history study, and a professional development program in Beijing, China. I interned at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and studied through The Beijing Center. 

 What did you enjoy most about this experience? 

My internship with the WWF demonstrated the importance of intercultural communication and collaboration on global issues, namely coordination of sustainability and climate change mitigation projects. It also sparked my interest in the role of NGOs in transnational advocacy, which was later the focus of my International Relations honors thesis on human rights advocacy in ASEAN and a featured component of my history capstone paper on environmental degradation in 1970s Japan.

Sogang University Debate Club in Seoul, Korea
Debate club at Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea.

What was your third global experience with LMU, and the most enjoyable aspect of this experience?  

In Fall 2019, I returned to Sogang University for a semester exchange. I took courses on military strategy and security, history of East Asia, the politics of development and “underdevelopment,” and Korean language instruction. I most enjoyed the opportunity to develop friendships with local students and other international students on exchange. These connections are an essential component to a global network I strive to create and, more importantly, are lasting friends I still keep in touch with and see throughout my Master’s studies in Europe. 

How have you continued your pursuit of global experiences post-graduation? 

In Fall 2021, I began my Master of Human Rights and Humanitarian Action at Sciences Po PSIA in Paris, France. I am a Rotary International Global Grant Scholar, which entails financial assistance to cover living and tuition expenses. Currently, at the midway point of my 2-year degree, I have most enjoyed the nature of my degree. The Human Rights and Humanitarian Action degree is already a specialization within the Paris School of International Affairs, and the degree allows me to declare thematic concentrations in Diplomacy and Environment/Sustainability to further tailor my studies. The degree also emphasizes readiness for students to become practitioners, which I prefer over a research-focused curriculum. 


During his undergraduate career at LMU, Will was also selected as a Semi-Finalist for both the Fulbright U.S. Student Program to New Zealand and Schwarzman Scholars Program.



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