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Cornell University

What are some special considerations for short-term
off-campus learning experiences?

Video of a Student Panel: Cultural Challenges and Global Learning

Katy Habr '18, Aditi Bhowmick '16 and Kevin Alyono '16 participated in a panel discussion with moderator Kent Hubbell at Cornell's third Internationalization Symposium, "The Globally Engaged Campus: Defining and Redefining Where We Are," May 18, 2016. The symposium explored Cornell’s opportunities for meaningful international experiences on the Ithaca campus.

Click Here to Learn What Experts Say About Intercultural Learning and Study Abroad

Where to go next

There are many things to think about when designing or planning to leading a short-term study abroad program, ranging from practical to pedagogical, from personal to political. Short-term study or research abroad program design can be said to have its own lifecycle and using backwards design is wise. It can take a year to plan all the details. Pedagogically-speaking, studying “content-in-context” can be invaluable. Best practices include pre-departure, in-country, and post-travel teaching and learning thatall includeopportunities for reflection and debriefing and mentoring. Some general tips follow.

  • Get prepared to be prepared. Every 2 years attend a Program Leader Training held by Cornell Abroad to get an update on policies that protect you, emergency assistance, and the protocols of emergency management and sexual assault.
  • Network with other program leaders and meet with Cornell Abroad staff to plan your development timeline, your budget, and learn the ins-and-outs ranging from course creation and timing, recruiting students, developing an itinerary, and other best practices. Talk to others who have traveled to that location and who have done similar work.
  • Learn about the place you’re going to and the people that live there, and ask students to learn, too.
  • Check out this library guide, designed to support your or your students’ research while you are abroad. It’s also great for pre-departure preparation, offering links to news sources from around the world, regional and country primers, language resources, and more.
  • Do a site visit: figure out lodging, transportation, teaching locations, fieldtrips, and take the time to build partnerships with local service providers and collaborative partners.
  • Create the itinerary. One special feature of studying abroad with students is that you have to plan for their safety, wellbeing, and activities 24/7.
  • Establish relationships and agreements with partners. Seek out best practices and guidelines for creating fair, reciprocal, enduring, mutually beneficial relationships. There are many handy community engagement partnership rubrics available online to help guide you.
  • Plan the budget.
  • Make an emergency plan.
  • Plan pre-departure, in-country, and post-travel teaching and learning that includes opportunities for reflection and debriefing and mentoring.
  • Not all students will have the same experience while abroad. Prepare to engage these differences so that all may learn more.
  • Create the course and study abroad experience with attention to intercultural learning, ethics, and best practices related to service learning, internships, language learning, ordiscipline-specific concerns, as relevant.
  • Funding opportunities for students are housed at this one-stop-shop Off-Campus Opportunities Fund. Student financial aid will apply to study abroad in some cases, when study falls within the semester or is tied to semester-based courses
  • Funding opportunities for faculty are available for Internationalizing the Cornell Curriculum and creating community-engaged opportunities.
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