Developing Study Abroad Options
Traditionally, study abroad programs are viewed as high-impact pedagogical vehicles for enhancing the effectiveness of a course. A well-designed experience that builds on the institution’s academic programs will go beyond the on-campus or online experience and will integrate learning objectives that take full advantage of the location. Faculty interested in developing study abroad programs should be content experts, be able to make their course content significant for the context abroad, as well as help the students transfer the experience back to their regular contexts in the USA.
Study abroad programs are not necessarily confined to students in a particular major in their upper level coursework. There are additional benefits from studying abroad that transcend the boundaries of a particular specialized curriculum, including enhancing of critical thinking skills and value-reflective thinking; boosting interest in and motivation to learn; and increasing self-confidence, maturity and empathy for others. These gains in attitudes and skills should be blended in a way that fits within and furthers the student’s academic program; especially if the students will be using financial aid.
In addition to the academic aspects of the program, faculty wanting to develop short term programs must delve into areas like travel safety and compliance concerns, financial recordkeeping, and program marketing. In institutions without established support for international activities, the additional commitment of time and effort can be overwhelming, especially for non-tenured faculty. These obstacles are often viewed as primary reasons not to develop a study abroad opportunity.
Challis Educational Opportunities (CEO) can provide support for the development and implementation of programs, including
- support with the local context,
- pre-travel preparations, such as orientations and logistics,
- program management,
- assessment, and
- reentry orientations.