At age 5, Angela Wright was teaching her family Spanish words she learned in school, rolling her Rs probably a little more than she needed in her excitement.
By middle school she was cooking Hmong recipes. At 16 she traveled to Mexico, leaving the United States for the first time.
Growing up in Morganton, Wright's fascination with world culture made her different from the rest of her family and most of her friends in town.
"My family is not very internationally minded," said Wright. "My love of all things international was not traditional."
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She discovered a few years ago that her curiosity about the world and delight over the differences among cultures make her a typical member of The Magellan Society.
The social group is a place where young professionals from different backgrounds can interact.
The group was organized by World Affairs Council of Charlotte, a privately funded nonprofit founded in 1983 at UNC Charlotte. The council still operates there today.
The World Affairs Council's numerous programs are more formal and focus on international affairs, leadership training and international education.
The Magellan Society is more of a starter group for networking. Followers meet socially at local bars and international restaurants to discover what the area has to offer.
Over time, these same people are likely to sign up for some of the council's other programs or tell friends about them.
"I think a group like this is necessary for any nonprofit interested in longevity," said Katey Dietz, Magellan's executive committee chairwoman. "When you are that executive or retire with the means to support at a high level, you already are engaged with an organization."
The World Affairs Council's Voyager's Club has a similar focus but without targeting a specific age group.
The club meets three or four times a year. The next event could come in summer or fall, said Charlotte Klopp, programming and development director.
International education is casual in the hands of The Magellan Society, which does not require membership to participate in programs. Most participants are ages 21 to about 40.
The group recently met after work at Charlotte School of Law to hear Wright talk about the year she spent in Seoul, South Korea, a city of more than 10 million people.
They also ate an Asian-inspired dinner that included fresh spring rolls, satay chicken and fried tofu.
At 26, Wright can now give firsthand accounts of travels to 10 countries. In South Korea, the UNC Charlotte grad taught English to children in kindergarten through fifth grades.
Her presentation to The Magellan Society included pictures, a quiz and prizes for those who could remember highlights of her talk.
She told the group there are so many buildings in Seoul that she never saw the horizon. Koreans revere their elders and defer to them in most situations, direct eye contact with them might be considered rude and cake is traditional even for the smallest of celebrations.
"My biggest reason for going to Korea is, 'Why not?'" Wright told the group. "Step out into the world and experience it to understand your place in it."