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Global Citizenship and International Experiential Learning

Module 3: Critical Reflections

Reflection of students experience is crucial to the learning experience of international
experiential learning.

Desrosier, M and Thomson, S., 2014

The power of perception is that which we call understanding.


John Locke (1689) in Wright, 2013, p. 248

Critical Reflections within International Experiential Learning

What does it mean to critically reflect? Why is critical reflection so crucial within international
experiential learning programs? These questions will be answered throughout the readings in this
module. The authors all present their own critical reflections of various forms of international
experiential learning programs, including volunteer and study abroad. Some of the important
themes throughout the readings include reflecting upon how our colonial past influences our
actions today, especially in terms of a students ability to travel abroad for the purpose of
volunteering and studying. How is power played out within these international programs? How is
this power dynamic influenced by colonialism? What role does race and racialization have within
international experiential learning? Do host organizations benefit in the same way as
An important aspect of international experiential learning programs that comes up throughout the
course modules, but especially so in this module, is the importance of reflection within the learning
process. As you will learn through the readings, reflection before, during and after international
experiential learning is crucial to a students ability to understand and learn from their experiences.
The reflection process allows students to consider why something happened or did not happen,
what can be learned from these experiences, how the experience influences the student or host, and
who influences the experience? Jacksons article captures the details that can go into reflection
through examples of a students personal reflective discourse before, during and after her
international experience. What is important to understand about reflecting critically is the need to
break apart a scenario or event and understand all the aspects of it. Why did people behave the way
they did? How did my education, socio-economic status, race, gender, culture, etc. influence the
scenario? Where does my knowledge come from? Langdon and Agyeyomah, 2014 chapter gives an
in-depth discussion and analysis of critical hyper-reflexivity. As well, Fizzell and Epprechts
chapter advocates for a greater emphasis on reflection within the secondary school level
international programs for both students and facilitators.
A final important aspect to mention, and will be discussed throughout the module, is power: who
has it? How it power used? When and where does power go unrecognized? Does a perception of
power influence our motivations to go abroad? Does it influence the benefits or lack of benefits
gained by the host organizations/communities? What about the local/indigenous voices: do they
have value and influence within development or international experiential learning?

Please complete all the readings and activities prior to proceeding to the discussion board where
you are expected to contribute your thoughts on the modules subject matter.
Module 3 Required Readings:
In Globetrotting or Global Citizenship? Perils and Potential of International Experiential Learning
edited by Rebecca Tiessen and Robert Huish, 2014, University of Toronto Press.
Chapter 3 by Langdon and Agyeyomah Critical hyper-reflexivity and challenging power: Pushing past the
dichotomy of employability and good global citizenship in development studies experiential learning
Chapter 5 by Thomas and Chandrasekera Uncovering what lies beneath: And examination of power,
privilege, and racialization in international social work.
Chapter 6 by Fizzell and Epprecht Secondary school experiential learning programs in the global south:
Critical reflections from an Ontario study.

Additional readings: You can find the PDFs for these readings through the uOttawa library
Heron, B. (2011). Challenging indifference to extreme poverty: Considering southern perspectives on
global citizenship and change. Ethics and Economics. 8(11). 109-119.
Jackson, J. (2011). Cultivating cosmopolitan, intercultural citizenship through critical reflection and
international, experiential learning. Language and Intercultural Communication. 11(2). 80-96.
Perold, H., Graham, L., Mavungu, E., Cronin, K., Muchemwa, L., and Lough, B. (2012). The colonial legacy
of international voluntary service. Community Development Journal. 48(2). 179-196.
Watch the video of John Langdons talk posted on Blackboard Learn.

Discussion Questions:
What do you think about the role of reflection within international experiential learning programs?
As a student having gone abroad, thought of going abroad, decided not to go abroad, or planning to
go abroad, how do you think reflection influences ones learning from experience?
Having read several critical reflections on the practice of volunteer/learn abroad programs, how do
you feel about international experiential learning? Have these reflections altered your views, why
or why not?
How can critically reflecting on international experiential learning help to improve the practice?
What do you think about Thomas and Chandrasekeras discussion on racialization within
international experiential learning? Had you previously thought of potential issues pertaining to
race within international experiential learning? Do you think there is a value to understanding
Apathetic and Authentic allies and how privilege is used to oppress others?
Take time to think through these questions. You may have come up with your own questions
throughout the readings and video. Please answer one or more of these questions on the discussion

board. Please also post at least one question you have from the readings. To earn your full
participation marks you must answer one of the questions above and one of the questions posted by
your classmates. As well, you must comment on one of your classmates answers to a question. In
total you should have three separate discussion board posts for this module. It is highly
recommended, to keep a dialogue going that you also respond to questions and comments from
your classmates who reply to your own comments and questions.