Monday, July 27, 2009

The Latest from JRIE

The latest issue of the Journal of Research in International Education is out from Sage Journals. While the electronic edition of the journal is for subscribers only, here is a listing of the abstracts of the major pieces of research in the new issue:

International education and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme by Conrad Hughes of the International School of Geneva in Switzerland: “This article aims to look at the concepts of internationalism and international education through the lens of postcolonial theory, arguing that the fundamental aims of international education are obstructed as it remains a concept locked in the idea of the nation state that has not evolved with the ideas of major postcolonial theorists. However, through careful curricular choices within the International Baccalaureate (IB) academic programmes, international education in practice can transcend its theoretical limitations.”

The role of significant others in the intercultural learning of teachers by Katri Jokikokko of the University of Oulu in Finland: “This article examines intercultural learning as a lifelong process. The data on which the article is based consist of 10 biographical interviews in which Finnish teachers were asked to talk about their lives from the perspective of intercultural learning. The analysis of the interviews showed that other people were involved in many of the experiences being referred to, and that these individuals played an important role in the stories. This article, therefore, focuses on the role of significant others in the intercultural learning of teachers. Three roles of significant others that arose from the data are introduced: transforming attitudes towards diversity; awakening and developing intercultural awareness; and developing ethical orientation.”

Teacher-student relationships in an International Baccalaureate school in China by Yue Zhang and Ian McGrath of the the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom: “This article describes a case study conducted at an International Baccalaureate World School in mainland China in which the majority of faculty and over 98 per cent of students are Chinese. The purpose of the study was to investigate and compare the teacher-student relationships of Chinese and non-Chinese teachers, with a specific focus on the teachers’ role and time spent with students. The study also explored students’ perspectives on any differences. The overall intention was to provide an in-depth and systematic interpretation of the nature of any differences and the reasons for these in an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of co-constructed pedagogy.”

International higher education and the mobility of UK students by Rachel Brooks of the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom and Johanna Waters of the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom: “In the context of increasing academic interest in the internationalization of education and the international mobility of university students, this article draws on findings of a recent research project examining students from the UK as they seek higher education overseas before entering the labour market. The discussion is framed around four key themes (the importance of ‘second chances’; ‘global circuits of higher education’; ‘experiences of travel’ and ‘labour market outcomes’), which address the motivations and experiences of 85 individuals who are seriously considering or have recently obtained an international degree.”

Stakeholder experiences of a dual-language international school by Timothy Fryer of PR China in Hong Kong: “Dual-language education has many different meanings, and there is much variation to be found among international schools. Is it possible to combine both concepts to the satisfaction of all stakeholders? This article reports the findings of a qualitative study at a dual-language international school that examines the views of the students, parents and teachers/leaders on the success of the school in achieving its multiple aims.”

New Academic Leadership at Semester at Sea

Semester at Sea has long been a popular study-abroad option for students across the United States. The program based at the University of Virginia has a new vice president and senior academic officer whom program leaders hope will inject more academic rigor.

Rosalyn W. Berne, an associate professor of science, technology, and society at Virginia, has been all over the world from her time as an undergraduate student. She says her new role will combine her academic work with a “personal commitment and convictions about us growing in our wareness of others.”

Loren Crabtree, the chief executive for global education at Semester at Sea, says he hopes Berne will be able to draw stronger links between what students are learning at sea and what they do while in ports of call around the globe.

Semester at Sea has been operated from Virginia since 2006 after running from the University of Pittsburgh since 1981. It will conduct its 100th globe-circling study cruise this fall.

Loss of a Study-Abroad Pioneer

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports the death of Alan Hall, an associate professor of history at Gateway Community and Technical College in Kentucky. Hall pushed the college in a number of directions, including leading the institution’s first study-abroad course — to France — earlier this spring.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's Video: Study Abroad as Career Prep

Annie Everett of the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business explains in today’s video how spending a year abroad in Grenada, Spain, was a superb preparation for her career.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Flexibility Spurs Short-Term Travel Demand

More students are pursuing short-term study abroad programs at Penn State, but officials there think that the economy has less to do with that trend than does the flexibility that short-term offerings provide students.

Regimented majors don’t provide many Penn State students with many options for long-term study abroad, reports the Daily Collegian student newspaper. Paul Shaffner, the assistant to the director of study abroad there, says that's the biggest reason for increasing student interest in brief international courses.

Shaffner also thinks lower costs may be a draw for some students but that, overall, the poor economy hasn’t seemed to deter Penn Staters from studying outside the United States.

“Somehow people are considering this important,” he said. “Important enough to spend money during tough times to do it.”

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuition Cuts for Study Abroad Programs

Buried deep in a story from the July 9 edition of Inside Higher Education (so deep I just found it this morning) is this study-abroad recruiting innovation from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln:
Nebraska is offering its students a 20 percent discount on summer study abroad programs this year in hopes of bolstering enrollment despite steep room and board rates for foreign study. While students are flocking to summer classes at the Lincoln campus, [Director of Summer Sessions Paul] Savory said he was initially nervous that study abroad numbers would drop off this year because of the economy.

“I think it’s helped with the recruitment, definitely,” Savory said of the 20-percent fee reduction. “When you look at the overall cost of these trips it doesn’t add up to a whole lot, but it’s helping students make that decision.”

The tuition break will amount to about $110 for in-state students taking a three-credit course abroad, and more than $300 for out-of-state students — admittedly, Savory said, a relatively small discount compared to the $2,500 in airfare and lodging expenses students will face for their trips. Still, Savory is optimistic that 2009 enrollment will match the headcount from last summer, when the University of Nebraska sent more than 300 students abroad for summer programs.

“We’re trying to expand internationally, and we’re using the discount to help that out,” Savory said. The tuition break benefits cash-strapped students, and the escalated interest in finding an alternative to summer employment helps the college’s international efforts, he said.
Nebraska is running 19 study abroad programs this summer.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Promoting Citizen Diplomacy

Talk about a natural relationship: I recently met with Ann Schodde, the executive director, and Derek Forsythe, the communications director, of the U.S. Center for Citizen Diplomacy to discuss ways that the group and my college could work together in Simpson College’s attempts to foster greater internationalization and the Center’s push to build citizen diplomacy efforts across the globe.

The Center has been key in promoting House Resolution 569, “supporting citizen diplomacy organizations and encouraging the convening of a Presidential Summit on Citizen Diplomacy.” Given the Obama administration’s greater interest in improving U.S. relationships with the rest of the world, citizen diplomacy groups will be playing a greater role in the coming years.

Click here via to register support for the resolution and sign a letter that will be generated to your member of Congress.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NAFSA Seeks Conference Proposals for 2010

Officials at NAFSA, the largest study-abroad professionals organization, say they're now taking proposals for sessions at the 2010 conference in Kansas City, Mo., next May 30 through June 4. The organization has a detailed set of instructions for proposers.

The deadline for proposals for workshops and sessions is Aug. 1 at 11:59 p.m. EDT, while proposals for poster sessions can come in as late as 11:59 p.m. EST on Nov. 14.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

FEA Studying Safety incidents

The Forum on Education Abroad says it's looking for institutions to help with a pilot study of health, safety and security incidents that threaten the welfare of students outside the United States.

FEA hopes to develop a database that will track various types of incidents that occur on study abroad programs.

“By documenting and learning what incidents occur in study abroad, the field will be better prepared to refine protocols for health, safety, security, and risk management, and continue to develop and disseminate effective best practices,” the organization says at its Web site. “Moreover, the field will be better able to understand factors that contribute to incidents, and thereby be prepared to mitigate and plan for risk, as well as utilize resources more strategically.”

Only Forum member schools may participate, and the organization says it hopes that as many members as possible will take part. Applications for schools interested in participating can be found at the study site and are due by Aug. 7.

Today's Video: The Travels of an MSU Student

Most institutions are now using study abroad as a major recruiting tool for undergraduate students. Michigan State University boasts that it sends more students abroad than any public university in the nation, and here student Nick Misinski tells of his adventures in a session with prospective students and parents.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

UK Fears International Student Shortage

It’s not just American institutions that are worrying about the impact of the economy on study abroad. British universities, the destination for the greatest single number of U.S. students, are bracing for a shortage this coming fall.

The perfect storm of the recession, tighter U.K. visa restrictions and swine flu may cost British schools students and much-needed income during the coming year, according to Hannah Fearn in the Times Higher Education edition.

“It’s all building up to make the U.K. a less attractive destination,” James Pitman, managing director of Study Group, which brings international students to the country, told Fearn.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Today's Video: France DVD Trailer

Simpson College in France from Brian Steffen on Vimeo.

Smart Study Abroad hasn’t gone away — we’ve just been in documentary-production mode for the past month in preparing a film on our May study-abroad course in France. We’ve even prepared a trailer in support of our Office of International Education and now share that trailer here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Today’s Video: Simpson Students in France

We regularly post video from other students and universities on the site, so I’ll post this slideshow of our just-completed tour of Paris, Bordeaux and Nice. Much of what I’ll be talking about over the next couple of weeks will be drawn from lessons learned during this experience. But, first, take a look at things we saw.

Back from France, Back Online

After a 2 1/2 week hiatus while I led a group of Simpson College students on a study tour comparing American and French cultures, Smart Study Abroad is back online. Give us a couple of days to get caught up on what’s been happening the larger world of study abroad, and we’ll be posting regularly again next week.

The plan had been for posting regularly from France. But Internet access in our hotels was spotty. Our Paris hotel had no access because the owner hadn’t paid his Internet bill, while our Bordeaux hotel would support only low-bandwidth email applications. A hotel in Nice provided reliable, high-bandwidth support (and at no charge to hotel guests!), but by then the 16-hour days were taking a toll on my ability to do anything other than shower and sleep.

As I tell my students, the key to success when studying abroad is in being flexible!

Monday, April 27, 2009

SSA Goes on the Road — to France

I’m off today with 11 students and an assistant for a 15-day study tour of French culture, and we'll be filing reports from the road over the next couple of weeks. I’m sure there will be plenty to report, but the wild card is Internet accessibility (hotel room wireless = €€€€€) and, if we need to go to Internet cafés, French keyboards

But, as we’re always telling students, adaptation is the spice of life. So let the adaptation begin!
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