A limited number of U.S. colleges and universities provide a formal course for students prior to study abroad. The Center for Global Education is currently developing a model on-line curriculum, consisting of three courses: “Before You Leave”, “While You’re There”, and “Once You Return”, consisting of a number of different modules per course.. Each module addresses topics critical to the study abroad experience, helping students to get the most out of their overseas experience.
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Below is an example of the different modules that exist in course one, “Before You Leave”.
Introduction to the Course
This module provides an introduction to the course, as well as a general overview of study abroad and its benefits. In this module the student can become a global scholar by creating their own info log and plan for interaction.
Logistics 1: Study Abroad
The first of two modules on Logistics, this module provides background both for students who know where they plan on studying abroad and those who have not yet decided on a program or location. Topics include academic issues, communication issues and financial advice.
Module 3: Cross Cultural Strategies
This module defines culture and examines differences and similarities in cultures, values, communication, and identities. Students should have a foundation for understanding and exploring intercultural relations. Also included in this section is culture shock and how students can be aware and cope with it.
Host Country Culture Info
Having looked at general cross-cultural issues and characteristics, students in this module will take a closer look at culture. They will begin to examine cultural issues and characteristics specific to their host country.
Module 5: Language Learning Strategies
This module will address general linguistic issues in general, including living in non-English speaking countries. The module will also be relevant for students studying in countries where English is spoken, and it will also discuss issues such as tips on studying a new language and coping with language fatigue in a country where English is not spoken as the primary language.
Learn Your Target Language
This module investigates the process of foreign language learning -- specifically, the language of a student's host country. It will also discuss opportunities to learn by practicing, reading and listening the language spoken in your host country, along with also discussing the differences in English spoken abroad.
Intro Global Issues
Being prepared for study abroad requires having a general understanding of global issues, including learning about the U.S., impressions of the U.S. by other countries, multi-national organizations (such as the UN, EU, NAFTA, etc.), as well as the role of transnational institutions and corporations.
Intro to Your Host Country
Following a basic understanding of global matters, students will gather important information about their specific host country. This includes an overview of the history, political climate, international relations, current events of the country, along with the sports, music and entertainment that exist in the host country.
Logistics 2: Health and Safety
The second module on Logistics will examine issues critical to the student's upcoming sojourn, such as best practices for health and safety, along with avoiding crime, legal trouble and drug issues while abroad. Lastly this module provides info for developing a crisis management plan.
Plan Your Return Home
This module provides critical background to prepare students for their return to the U.S. This includes information on keeping memories and staying in touch with those you have met while studying abroad, knowing what needs to be done before you return home and saying goodbye in a proper manner.