The backdrop to his first job post-grad was not completely unlike that of his peers. It was in an office job, balancing its fair share of slow and busy days– it just happened to be across the Atlantic Ocean, in Ukraine.
David Woodside, NTC ’19, eagerly deployed for a two-year Peace Corps commitment shortly after receiving his diploma. His mission was to apply his dual degree in management and political economy to create public policy and bolster the economy in Blahodatne, a small town located in northwest Ukraine. Woodside felt ready for the challenge and the global transition, attributing his time with Tulane’s Altman Program.
The Altman Program in International Studies & Business is a tailored four-year program featuring cohort learning and integrating liberal arts and business disciplines. Its curriculum incorporates extensive language instruction, and two study abroad experiences. Altman Scholars, students who complete the program, graduate with two degrees - a B.A. from the School of Liberal Arts and a B.S.M. from the Freeman School of Business.
As a prospective student living in Delaware, Woodside discovered the Altman program amidst his college research and officially set his sights on Tulane. New Orleans was the first of many new horizons for him. In total, his studies spanned four continents, learning in places such as Vietnam, Morocco and France. Woodside considers his extensive travel his “claim to fame” back home.
In addition to his studies abroad, Woodside immersed himself in multi-cultural experiences at Tulane, involving himself in student organizations such as the Tulane Vietnamese Association. Active engagement with these diverse experiences and fostering global connections with peers are what he says aided his career transition.
“I felt I adjusted very quickly to my new life,” says Woodside. “I had the skills to make new friends, learn the language, and build a new life in a new place. Maybe more so than some of my peers who didn’t have the experiences that I had.”
Having mastered the mental adjustment, Woodside was able to focus his efforts on his work in his town’s settlement council. There, he concentrated primarily on community and economic development. His biggest project, and the one he feels most proud of, is a partnership with the national nonprofit Building Ukraine Together. This coming September, Building Ukraine Together members are to come to Woodside’s town and help rebuild its town square.
When pondering his career beyond the Peace Corps, Woodside says he feels it would make sense for him to
continue working abroad. However, should he shift to a domestic career, he knows his global perspective and experience is a unique and championed quality that sets him apart.
Woodside assures that students don’t need to make a life of travel to expand their worldview as he has. Even a simple trek through New Orleans can make the slightest difference. So long as an experience puts you in a new, challenging environment where you can learn more about other people, and yourself, that’s when invaluable learning happens.
Opportunities for such local and global exploration in academics are readily available to NTC students. The College promotes universal learning through its core curriculum and first-year seminars. Additional
opportunities also available through NTC’s Center for Global Education, which houses study abroad programming, student leadership opportunities such as the International Student Advisory Board or TUPals and hosts weekly meetups where internationally minded students and faculty to meet and bond of their shared passions.
Due to COVID-19, all Peace Corp operations were suspended in mid-March of 2020. All volunteers were evacuated back to the United States. The program informed its members that, in late May, they will have access to an expedited application to either re-enroll in the program with new assignments and training, or reinstatement to their original country of service. Woodside plans to reinstate and hopes to have the opportunity to return to his original position.