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Module 6: Getting the Most Out of - and Making Sense of - International Experiential Learning for

Global Citizenship Education

We learn from experience, but not all experience is educational. Experiences do not lead to
learning when we cannot extract anything new from them, when we fail to reflect on them, or when
we cannot identify lessons learnt.

Jarvic, 1994, quoted in Davies, 2008, quoted in Travers, 2014, p. 198 in Getting the most out of studying abroad:
Ways to maximize learning in short-term study trips

Preparing to Get the Most Out of an International Experience

How do you get the most out of your experience abroad? Are all international experiences through
study and volunteer abroad programs considered to be experiential learning? Can some
study/volunteer abroad programs be effective experiences if/when students fail to learn from their time
abroad? What are the pedagogical objectives of students learning and how can they best be achieved?
The readings in this module discuss the importance of pre-departure preparation, reflection and
debriefing towards enhancing the students overall experience abroad and the quality of the students
learning through their experiences abroad. Not all programs are created equally and some may provide
more intensive preparation, reflection and debriefing prior to, during and after the students time
abroad. How can theoretical pedagogy on ethics, race and racism, colonialism and post-colonialism, or
power and privilege, enhance a students ability to adapt and behave while abroad, as well as, learn
through their experience? Can enhanced student preparation influence how students behave while
abroad? Should preparation be primarily about the student, or should it also discuss the host
community and how they can benefit or not be harmed through hosting international
The readings assigned for this module examine how students, who have participated in an international
experience, understood their time aboard and the difficult situations they encountered. How students
make meaning out of their time abroad, either positive or negative, will affect how and what they
learn. Are students reinforcing prior stereotypes about the Global South and about development as a
result of their time abroad? Or are students questioning these stereotypes and the current structures of
inequality in international development?
The final chapter by Tiessen and Huish (2014) provides many thought provoking questions about
international experiential learning. The authors also provide recommendations towards a more ethical
and mutually beneficial practice of international experiential learning.
While this module concludes the course, its content should also be related back to previous modules in
terms of how you can get the most out of your experience abroad through consideration of the course
themes of global citizenship, motivations, images and discourse, critical reflection, and ethics. As well
as, how can you make sense of the practice of international experiential learning (whether you
participate in it or not)? Does international experiential learning create global citizenship? Is it ethical?
Does it create solidarity, social justice and advocacy within students who participate?
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 6 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 9 by Drolet Getting prepared for international experiential learning: An ethical imperative.
Chapter 10 by Travers Getting the most out of studying abroad: Ways to maximize learning in short-term
study trips.
Chapter 13 by Roddick Youth volunteer stories about international development: Challenges of public
engagement campaigns.
Chapter 14 by Huish and Tiessen Afterword: There should be nothing experimental about experiential
learning: From globetrotting to global citizenship.

Additional readings: You can find the PDFs for these readings through the uOttawa library
Mangold, K. (2012). Struggling to do the right thing: Challenges during international volunteering.
Third World Quarterly. 33(8). 1493-1509.
Suggested Readings:
Dean, K., and Jendzurski, M. (2013). Using post-study-abroad experiences to enhance international
study. Honors in Practice. 9 (Annual 2013). 99-111.
Dekaney, E. (2008). Students pre-departure expectations and post-sojourn observations in a short-term
international program abroad on the culture, music, and art of Brazil. International Education.
37(2). 17-29.
Schwartz, K., Kreitzer, L., Lacroix, M., Barlow, C., McDonald, L., Lichtmannegger, S., Klassen, M.,
Orjasniemi, T., and Meunier, D. (2011). Preparing students for international exchanges:
Canadian/EU experiences. European Journal of Social Work. 14(3). 421-434

Watch the two videos by Huish and Tiessen available on Blackboard Learn.

Discussion Questions:
How can a pedagogy in relational ethics enhance a students learning? In Mangolds article, do you
think the students might have responded/thought about their situations and struggles differently had
they had pre-departure training in relational ethics?
Do you think pre-departure training, reflection and debriefing can change a students perceptions of
their time abroad as a time-out? Why or why not and how so?
The readings primarily focus on the students learning and getting the most out of their international
experiences, but what about the host community/organizations? How can they make the most out of
hosting students? Should they receive pre-hosting sessions to better prepare them so that they can benefit
as much as possible?

How has this course shaped your thinking about learning/volunteer abroad programs and experiential
learning? How might you go about internships or volunteering or even working abroad differently as a
result of the reflections made throughout this course? What material did you find most useful for
reflecting on learning/volunteer abroad programs?