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13
Aug

Students on Island Programs Need Not Feel Marooned

Engage Abroad!

An American study abroad island program in London took a survey of their students asking how many British people they knew? To their surprise many students answered “no one.”  Yet the students were all working or volunteering locally. How could they be surrounded by British people but feel they did not know anyone?

Island programs — so-called because the students live in a facility with on site classes organized by their home university — present challenges for both the students and  program directors.  The students know they are living in a bubble and quickly discover that  exploring their physical surroundings and visiting local museums feels very superficial.  Many program directors have introduced volunteering and internships to provide students a way into the culture.  From the survey however it would appear that these experiences, while valuable, may not be providing the personal contact students crave in order to really learn about a…

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