Study Abroad Association and Gaston College Globalize Curriculum

Embarking on a journey of academic enrichment and cultural exploration through study abroad is an unparalleled experience that can transform lives. This past semester, Study Abroad Association continued its long-standing partnership with Gaston College to internationalize its humanities curriculum with our virtual global learning materials, 360 GLE™ (Global Learning Experiences), allowing students to experience the benefits of international education without traveling overseas. 

Gaston College, a public community college in North Carolina, prides itself not only on its exceptional academic offerings but also on its commitment to providing students with diverse global experiences. With an emphasis on broadening horizons and fostering a deeper understanding of the world, Gaston College offers an array of captivating courses that open doors to new cultures, languages, and perspectives.

Michele Domenech, M.A., Director, Global Education Program at Gaston College, has played an integral role in spearheading efforts across the campus. Though she regularly leads faculty-led study abroad programs including an upcoming course in Switzerland this summer,  she was looking for a way to internationalize the curriculum for her humanities course without requiring students to travel.

“The virtual components really caught my eye because we didn’t have a budget or time to plan a course,” she said. “Virtual GLE was something we could start off with and what I really like about the 360 content is how easy it was to embed directly into my course platform.”

Specifically, this past semester she integrated a plethora of content on Colombia into her course to broaden the scope of focus to include South America. With Study Abroad Association’s 360 GLE™  she had access to background content on major cities like Cartagena and Medellin, video interviews with locals and experts, and virtual walking tours of historic sights in city centers, all of which she could embed into her classroom’s platform.

“Student engagement was my top focus,” she added. “I wanted to make it a really good way to engage students in learning about cultures and traditions outside the United States.  I received really positive feedback from many students and after the class, a lot of them felt like they had been to Colombia.”

The partnership between Gaston College and Study Abroad Association proves that internationalizing a curriculum doesn’t necessarily require physical travel to another country. Rather, it involves an innovative approach to enriching educational experiences by infusing global perspectives, diverse cultures, and international themes into the learning environment. By integrating a variety of multicultural resources such as literature, art, history, and technology, educators can expose students to different worldviews, languages, and traditions within their local classrooms. 

“There are so many reasons that people can’t travel, but I think allowing them to do it virtually, while also learning about culture and traditions, and maybe learning that their stereotypes and biases are incorrect is very powerful. These tools can help students become global citizens.”

Study Abroad Association’s 360 GLE™ is an interactive platform featuring up-to-date, immersive international education content and experiences in over 80 global locations to supplement and enhance classrooms, while internationalizing campuses and building globally competent and competitive students. 

To learn more about how to incorporate our virtual global learning materials into your classroom, visit studyabroadassociation.com or send us an email at info@studyabroadassociation.com

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