Much like any educational programming, if the study abroad and/or virtual exchange experience is limited in scope and lacks structure, students walk away with missed opportunities to capitalize being involved in such an endeavor. It’s up to faculty to design programming that strategically addresses cultural exposure and inquiry, scaffolds assignments to ensure learner engagement and includes reflective activities that charge students with identifying the impact of the experience.
In addition to the hard skills often built into the objectives and activities, soft skills are often residually acquired and have a lasting impact on students. Global perspective is something that is highly desired for personal and professional reasons—students who have these experiences are viable candidates, especially when engaging with global teams.
Virtual Exchange Resources
Check out these organizations, both in K12 and higher ed, that showcase examples and discuss what’s happening in the field.
- The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs
- The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs – Collaboratory
- The Virtual Exchange Coalition
- The Aspen Institute Stevens Initiative
- Qatar Foundation International (http://yallah.qfi.org/)
- Youth for Understanding Intercultural Exchange Program
- European Association for International Education
- The Asia Pacific Virtual Exchange Association
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