Integrating International and Returning Study Abroad Students in Class
Some of the richest international perspectives can come from your students. International students or returning study abroad students can contribute to classes in multiple ways:
- Japanese interns at Northwestern College are invited to a kinesiology course to answer questions about cultural differences in nutrition and health.
- Native speakers of a foreign language pair up with students learning that language.
- Students who have studied abroad are asked to present perspectives from their former host society. At Loyola University Maryland, for example, faculty are encouraged to give assignments that build on students’ overseas experiences.
- Students in almost any discipline can offer a more global perspective. From my own experiences I've seen: business students visiting factories in EL Salvador who can speak to the "sweatshop" debate when they return, and offer some "real world" depth; returnees from Oman and Morocco who could speak to the stereotypes of veiled women; alumni of a program that explored sexual and gender identity in Amsterdam who brought in European theoretical and conceptual models that had not been explored in their women's studies classes; diplomacy majors who had been in Geneva who could add insight gain through their studies at the United Nations and affiliated agencies; Americans who met and later interviewed Hong Kong Chinese shortly after the handover to China could add perspective to the understanding of this world event; and so on.
- Similarly, international students can offer similar perspectives and insights. In a graduate organizational behavior class, a student from Ivory Coast explained how the models of leadership in his community did not fit into the models offered through the US American textbook.
- NAFSA has a recent e-publication on curriculum integration of study abroad.