Study Abroad Programs – Field Trips & Culture

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,748
    Joseph Sevigny with IES Abroad explains how to maximize your cultural immersion in a study abroad program.

    Joseph Sevigny: Hi, I'm Joseph Sevigny with IES Abroad. Today I'm talking to you about how to choose a study abroad program. I'm now going to discuss how to maximize your cultural immersion.

    One of the ways that students studying abroad can develop cultural competence is to engage with the local culture and community. When choosing a study abroad program make sure, you will have opportunities to experience the country's unique way of life, from its social customs to its work culture. So you can get a feel for how people in that country actually live.

    Each experiential opportunity offers a new perspective. Hoping you'd become not only a well-rounded professional in the future but also, a more culturally competent person in general. Find out if experiential learning is part of the program's curriculum. Internships, field trips, and other hands-on experiences teach you things you could never learn from a book.

    In order to learn the most about a particular destination and culture, it's also important that the field trips on the program be led by qualified instructors or guys. Internships abroad are also excellent way to emerge yourself in the local culture while developing professional skills and building your resume.

    Don't miss out on a chance to get credit for work experience you've earned on an internship. Find out in advance whether the program offers internships for credit and whether your home-school will accept internship credit toward your current degree program.

    One of the best ways, to integrate into the local community and culture is to live with a local family in a homestay. Living with a local family gives you a chance to experience the culture first hand on a daily-basis, from learning the old-time customs and sampling typical cuisine to joining in that family activities and practicing your language skills. Well not all programs offer homestays, many do. And most students who choose programs with this option often, have a more authentic cultural experience than those who would love to live only with other Americans students.

    There are many questions to ask when you first choose your study abroad program, and I hope that I've helped you to understand the importance of culture and your decision making process.