Chapter 3: When Does Global Learning Begin? Recognizing the Value of Student Experiences Prior to Study Away

Scott Manning, Zachary Frieders, and Lynette Bikos

When you ask students to describe valuable experiences in preparing for study away, previous travel and encounters with diversity matter and should be considered when developing pre-departure experiences. Institutions and instructors can use a strengths-based focus to help students to transfer what they have learned from previous domestic and international experiences.

Discussion Questions

  1. Where in your study abroad/away program could you insert an appraisal of student coping strategies as well as concrete strategies for leveraging them during the immersion experience?
  2. Thinking beyond logistical concerns, what topics are essential in formal pre-departure preparation for study abroad/away?
  3. How might we encourage students to reflect on their preparation to go off campus? Are special classes needed, or are there other ways that could be successful?
  4. Should we advise students to select programs based on earlier experiences? Why or why not?
    • For example: advise a student who identifies “moving away from home” as their prime preparatory experience to a program with fewer culturally dislocating challenges (e.g., shorter duration, no requirement for the host country language, faculty-led)?