We are all living with a lot of uncertainty right now. International educators are not only dealing with uncertainty in their own lives, but also in the lives of their students. Will students be able to travel abroad in the fall? Will programs need to be shortened? Start dates delayed? Will international students be able to get visas to come to our school? Will they decide not to enroll?
So many unknowns! For us, and our students.
Global mobility might be cancelled or on hold for the time being. But intercultural learning doesn’t have to be!
In fact, I would argue that intentionally focusing on developing intercultural competence is more important now than ever. Previously, we may have been able to move students around the world and hope that such experiences would lead to deep intercultural learning (if you’ve followed me for more than a minute you know that’s not necessarily a given). But now we have to come up with other ways.
Furthermore, as I’ve...
A lot has happened in the world since I wrote my last blog post a month ago, when most colleges and universities were just beginning to consider how to respond to the spreading Coronavirus. Now, most schools have moved instruction and services online. Study abroad programs have been cancelled and students sent home, and many international exchange organizations have laid off hundreds of employees.
Worldwide, people are facing significant hardship and loss, as well as dealing with incredible uncertainty. Most of us are experiencing a wide range of fluctuating emotions, many of them contradictory.
For me personally, this all feels very heavy right now. And yet I’m also feeling hopeful. In this post, I want to acknowledge and make space for the heaviness, while also sharing with you the reasons behind my hopefulness.
An Opportunity to Create a New “Normal”
Lately I’ve heard a lot of references to “when things are back to normal.” Frankly, I don’t...
COVID-19: It’s seriously upsetting the international education field, and higher education in general (not to mention other sectors). I know many of you are working overtime and grappling with very difficult decisions that impact a lot of people in serious ways. Do we cancel our study abroad programs? Relocate students? Restrict faculty and staff travel? Or even close our doors and move all courses online?
That’s why, in this blog post, I want to talk about something that may seem only tangentially related to intercultural learning for many of you, but is a fundamental aspect of it, in my opinion: self-care.
Intercultural experiences are all about engaging with the unknown and pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone. Doing difficult things. In order to learn, grow, and make the most of such experiences, it’s fundamental to take care of ourselves so we have the energy to engage in these ways.
Whether we’re crossing cultures, or engaging ambiguity...
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