Title: Partnering Up for Tertiary-Level Online Intercultural Programs: Building a Framework Towards Implementation
Stream: Language and Culture
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Mikio Brooks, Asia University, Japan
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically impacted short-term and long-term study abroad opportunities for students enrolled at the tertiary level worldwide. In some cases, students may have been prematurely forced to return to their home countries, while for other students, they may have had to put all of their study aspirations entirely on hold due to immigration restrictions. With waves of variants of concern being periodically detected, forecasting when in-person study abroad programs can be reestablished safely and reliably is nearly impossible. One option for higher educational institutions is to partner with external universities to offer online intercultural learning programs for their students within the domestic arena. Based on the author’s ongoing experience with entering a partnership with a Malaysian university and establishing an intercultural program for a Japanese university from the bottom-up, this paper will explore, identify, and outline the array of factors involved in planning and implementing such a program. These challenges include curricular design and finding the right balance between language instruction and content learning. Other aspects that must be addressed include correspondence, coordination, and negotiating between the two parties and internally within institutions, logistical issues such as financial feasibility, promoting and recruiting students for the program, and drafting a legal framework for the partnership. Hopefully, these online intercultural programs can be implemented to generate much-needed intercultural and linguistic learning opportunities for students and enhance further international collaboration between universities in the near and distant future.
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