Teaching an Illinois Course Abroad

The Study Abroad Office provides support for internationally oriented courses to take place abroad in locations of immediate significance for the course. There are two general types of courses abroad that can be created:

  • Full Course Abroad: The classes begin and end abroad (pre-departure orientations and post-return receptions excluded). The program length may be as short as 2 weeks or as long as 8 weeks with credit ranging from 3-9 hours depending on the program and its length.
  • Partial Course Abroad: A substantial portion to a majority of the class is conducted on campus, and the portion abroad is primarily limited to 1 to 2 weeks. Much of the course abroad planning and implementation is constrained by the term in which the course is conducted.

Goals for Courses Abroad

The Study Abroad Office encourages two goals for courses abroad: Enhance the learning of the academic subject material and expand the intercultural experiences and competence of program participants.

All who sponsor and direct these programs are responsible for ensuring that these goals are attained. Regarding the second goal, there are several ways to ensure its attainment. Students' intercultural experiences are expanded through their participation in a course abroad. Faculty Directors can also enhance these experiences by building in formal and informal interactions with the local community members. The assumption is that expanding the number of intercultural experiences will also enhance their intercultural competence. Students should be encouraged to develop specific strategies and activities that facilitate their intercultural transformations over time.

Information and strategies can be found in the following texts:

  • Maximizing Study Abroad: A Student's Guide to Language and Culture Learning and Use and its companion
  • Maximizing Study Abroad: A Program Professionals' Guide to Strategies for Language and Culture Learning and Use (Paige, M., Cohen, A., Kappler, B., Chi, J., & Lassegard, J. 2002. Board of Regents, University of Minnesota).

The program sponsors in the college and department in which the course is housed, in collaboration with the Study Abroad Office, provide the support and incentives for developing courses abroad. The Study Abroad Office, through student and faculty director orientations and materials, introduces specific ways in which intercultural experiences can be enhanced, particularly for those traveling abroad for short periods of time. Finally, the faculty director and program assistants are immediately available to help guide and support students throughout their experience on the course abroad.