Team Members: Jean Wilson, Eamon Colvin, Mia Kibel, Sabrina Sibbald
Supporters: Sabrina Kirby, Beth Marquis
Arts & Science Program’s Development of Study Abroad as Experiential Learning and McMaster’s Global Engagement
The Arts & Science Program is poised to develop programming that would not only enrich the experience of Artsci undergraduates who study abroad (up to 20% of our Level III cohort), but also contribute to institutional commitments to internationalization and global engagement. Below is the abstract of an article published by Art & Science professor and director Dr. Jean Wilson and five Artsci graduates (Class of 2015) who studied abroad in their third year of undergraduate study; it developed out of a July 2015 presentation, “Interdisciplinary Study Abroad as Experiential Learning,” at a Conference on The Culture of Study Abroad in Halifax, sponsored by St. Mary’s University and SSHRC, and was revised for publication in Comparative and International Education. The Arts & Science Program is sorely in need of the opportunity to integrate these findings into the development of enhanced international study programming for its students currently participating in—or contemplating—academic exchange as well as programming to bring exchange participants together in fruitful learning with those who have not studied abroad.
Abstract: Although study abroad would appear to be an ideal context for the learning through doing and reflecting that constitutes experiential education, if it fails to be rigorously approached as experiential learning, it not only falls short of its potential, but also risks reinforcing rather than confounding consumerist assumptions and behaviours in education. Co-authored by five former undergraduate academic exchange participants and their professor and interdisciplinary Arts & Science Program director (who had remained at the home university), this article explores the need and various possibilities for programming that would pay more than lip service to the idea of international study as experiential learning. Facilitation of ongoing critical reflection and meaningful connections among students returning from study abroad, those arriving from elsewhere, and those at the home institution who had not studied abroad presents itself as a significant post-sojourn opportunity, with the potential to contribute to the transformation and internationalization of the institution itself.