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By Kimberly Cressy

According to Open Doors 2004, there has been a 129% increase of US students studying abroad over the past decade. In 1993/94 approximately 71,150 students studied abroad, as compared to 174,629 in 2002/03 (IIE). The report also provided numbers on a historically underrepresented group: students of color. While the percentage of students of color studying abroad during these years increased by 137%, in 2003 they made up only 17% of the total number of students studying abroad.

So what do these numbers mean? Statistics such as these have led to initiatives to increase participation of underrepresented populations in study abroad. Historically, middle to upper class European American females represent the ‘typical’ US student studying abroad; however, these figures are changing. With the increase of internationalization programs across U.S. More ...

Imagining Difference: Arts-Based Methods and Study Abroad

By Karen Rodríguez

This article discusses arts-based methodologies as an option for study abroad pedagogy. It argues that this sort of creative and critical approach can afford students new ways of seeing, processing, expressing, and ultimately, knowing, which all get at the critical thinking goals espoused by international educators. After introducing arts-based methods, it examines why these approaches might be particularly well-suited to this student generation and to study abroad, and then briefly mentions several examples of how these methods have been used at CIEE’s Study Center in Guanajuato, Mexico. The article suggests that incorporating such methods can greatly enrich current pedagogical approaches in study abroad.

One of the fundamental challenges in international education is to cultivate students’ awareness of difference in a way that does not blanket-highlight everything in US-Other terms that tend towards generalizations and oppositions. Such an experience of difference relegates each culture to its respective corner instead of pulling everything into dialogue and opening up room for deeper learning. How can we get students to both see and embrace more nuanced levels of difference? Working in a middle-class university city in Mexico, our program has struggled at both extremes – we have searched for ways to keep difference in view when some of the material aspects of daily life are not so exotic in appearance, and we have also worked to highlight underlying human similarities when values differences loom large in students’ experiences. More ...

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