Culture can be a vague and broadly defined term. Merriam-Webster defines culture as “the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group.”
How are study abroad programs able to provide an experience for students that fulfills academic requirements while also immersing students in the widespread “culture” where they study? In can be a challenge to find the right mix of academic, recreational, and cultural experiences that students will enjoy and find authentic.
Read on to discover our three best practices for creating an immersive study abroad experience for your students.
1) Offer courses taught in local language
This may seem obvious as most study abroad programs have a language course requirement, but we’re not just referring to these languages courses. Offering courses that are taught partially or fully in the local language can provide students with the opportunity to improve their language comprehension skills.
By requiring that students complete assignments and exams in another language will help their language skills and aid them in feeling more comfortable speaking with locals with their newfound language skills.
2) Organize social events with local students
Experts say that the best way to learn a language is to practice, practice, and more practice. Help facilitate meet-ups and social events with local university students, which will provide your students the chance the practice speaking with locals.
This will not only help their language skills, but students will gain a first-hand understanding of how people of a similar age live differently and similarly to how they live in America. Students can learn local phrases and colloquialisms that they may not be able to learn in their language courses.
3) Provide travel within the host country
When students come abroad, sometimes they may neglect traveling locally in order to visit more countries throughout Europe due to the ease of hopping from country to country. While traveling to multiple countries is an excellent way to experience a variety of cultures, we don’t want students to leave their time abroad feeling they didn’t immerse themselves in their host country culture.
Your program can provide short day and weekend trips through the country to destinations that provide a unique opportunity for students to see new facets of the country they would have otherwise missed.
If you need assistance with incorporating group travel into your study abroad program, contact us today.
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