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Javonni McGlaurin - Kultural Kurator

Javonni McGlaurin


Ethnicity - Black American

Occupation - University Relations Manager

Place of Employment - SIT Study Abroad

Years in the field: 6

What global experiences have you taken part in when you were a student and/or a professional?

In high school I participated in the Missouri Ambassadors of Music where I traveled to Europe for two weeks with over 300 vocalist and instrumentalist from across the state of Missouri. Based on this experience I was determined to study abroad in college which I did. I spent a semester studying language in culture in Costa Rica. This put me on a path to further my global experiences which is why I went on to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines in the Children, Youth, and Family Sector.

How has Global Education impacted you and your career choices?

My global experience solidified my career choice to work in international education and development. I have committed to serving children and students to develop them as the next generation of global leaders.

What do you enjoy most about the work that you do in Global Education?

I enjoy sharing my experience with students and watching them embark on their on path as a global citizen and seeing them learn the value of mutual understanding and respect as they grow into their own career path. Especially students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). As a proud HBCU grad from the illustrious Hampton University, I created a blog that spotlights students from HBCUs that have engaged in global experiences.

What challenges have you had to overcome as you work in Global Education?

Innovation. Our field tends to operate by status quo or under the mantra “ If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” but as we’ve seen in 2020 traditional model of putting folks on plans to enter or leave the United States is what led to the demise of global education during a pandemic. I consider myself an innovator and it’s a challenge to encourage folks try something new. In 2020 we were forced to be innovative with program models and ways of advising and I hope we continue these innovative practices because that’s how this field will continue to grow and reach more students.

How has your cultural identity impacted your experience working in Global Education?

I sort of want to answer this question in the reverse. It is my experience working in Global Education that has impacted my cultural identity as a Black woman from the United States. I have become more grounded and confident in my identity because of this field. I have gained more pride because I realize that no one is speaking up for “us” and I don’t necessarily want people to speak on my behalf. No one can be a better advocate that I can by telling my own story. I understand the challenges of pay equity and feeling valued at an organization but I also recognize the power and privilege of having Black Girl Magic.

How has seeing other people of color/diverse backgrounds in Global Education inspired you?

Seeing people of color working in Global Education is my ultimate motivation both professionally and personally. Some of the closest relationships I’ve developed within the field of Global Education are with folks that identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color. We all come together as a family and celebrate our accomplishments and through that, I am motivated to push myself, take advantage of more professional development opportunities, and maximize my potential.

As a Kultural Kurator, what does culture mean to you?

Culture is LEARNED! It shared beliefs and behaviors of a social, ethnic, or age group.

Self/Soul Care is important as we live our lives and do this work. How do you incorporate self/soul care into your life?

In my current role, when I am not traveling for work (pre-covid), I’m working on home which means I’m staring at some screen. This can be a computer screen, phone screen or a television. Self-care for me means stepping away from the screens and tapping into my creative mind. I am the self-proclaimed “Chief Creative Officer” of The Natural Travelista Candle Collection. This is my boutique candle company that offers travel-inspired candles and wax melts. Since the stay at home order. I’ve imagined a place I’ve traveled and reflected on scents that remind me of that location and that’s how the candles are created. An example is the “Royal Thai” fragrance. I remembered my first time smelling lemongrass was when I purchased a body oil from Chaing Mai, Thailand. So I created the Royal Thai candle to blend lemongrass with soothing hints of lavender. Recreating the memories of my travels brings me joy and relaxation.

What advice would you give a future Kultural Kurators as they think about working in this field?

Learn as much as you can. This doesn’t have to mean get a degree but this could be done through attending conferences or requesting to speak with someone in the role you aspire to hold about their experience in the field. Additionally, don’t doubt yourself. Feel confident in what you can contribute to the field.

How can others follow you on social media, website, and/or is there an email address that you'd like to share?


Instagram: @TheNaturalTravelista


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