Modernizing the International Short-Term Study Abroad

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Modernizing the International Short-Term Study Abroad
Stream: Higher Education
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Joe Pavelka, Mount Royal University, Canada


The international field school is defined as a short-term (between 2 to 6 weeks) faculty-led international education program that aims to capitalize on experiential learning. It has skyrocketed in popularity at universities because it reflects the travel desires of students; it provides meaningful experiential learning, and its condensed format makes it easier for students to fit into their academic schedule. The COVID-19 pandemic halted global travel including post-secondary field school opportunities. There is enormous desire on the part of students to return to travel and universities are keen to accommodate. However, there has never been a better time for universities to take stock of their international field schools and establish a plan for their success. We need to understand and incorporate the shifting realities of both education and travel. For instance, the ‘deep field school’ model has emerged as a way to refocus resources dedicated to international student activity toward increasing the effectiveness of each experience. The deep field school model leverages gains in the academic program toward developing long-term scholarship and service opportunities. Finally, international field schools at the post-secondary level must also reckon with the rapidly changing world of travel. It is imperative that universities understand their impact and incorporate ways of mitigating and enhancing their presence. University field schools are not immune to resident population complaints of overtourism and demonstrated insensitivities.

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