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Symposia on Pre-Departure and Reorientation Programs



Pre-departure and reorientation of study abroad students allows the greatest opportunity for institutions to play a significant role in providing an exceptional international experience. Several Global Partners initiatives focused on the need for orientation programs particularly focused on the preparation of students for pre-departure, orientation to the host country, and expectations upon return.

Pre-Departure and Re-Orientation: Model Development
A faculty team at Rollins College developed a two-credit course that will ultimately be a pre-requisite for all study abroad programs. The course begins at mid-semester and is a requirement for all students enrolled in the following semester's Rollins study abroad programs. Faculty from Education, Communications, Australian Studies and Hispanic Studies participate, as well as staff from the Counseling Center, Community Engagement and International Programs. The course focuses on developing cross-cultural competence through a variety of activities and readings. Centre College is also implementing the course.
For more information on this course, contact Wendy Brandon, Department of Education at Rollins College (

Pre-Departure and Reorientation Programs for Study Abroad: A Best Practices Symposium
In June 2004, international educators and faculty from across the Global Partners Project gathered at Birmingham-Southern College to engage in discussions of the complex questions surrounding the preparation and reorientation of students who have studied abroad. A great deal of information and a number of models were shared and discussed. The symposium resulted in the development of several new pre-departure courses and the reshaping of programs. A second symposium in June 2005 focused on reorientation.

Reorientation or the re-entry experience is one of the critical components in the internationalization of an institution. Without active classroom engagement and campus-wide support, we fail to utilize the intercultural experiences of our students and faculty and lose the potential to engage that international perspective more deliberately. This symposium offered the opportunity to explore a myriad of questions not the least of which were a definition of reorientation or re-entry. Understanding the logistical, personnel and financial constraints many representatives expressed during both the 2004 symposium and the presentation at the Region VII conference, effective on-line courses, simulations and other experiential techniques that allow students to develop their own learning in meaningful and diverse ways before and after study abroad were also defined.

The questions of reorientation and learner-based tools are ones that cannot be answered by a study abroad office or an academic program alone. Thus using the model of the recent Global Partners conference at Beloit College, we encouraged a faculty/staff team from each institution to join the symposium.

The schedule for the Symposium generally focused on defining reorientation for the student and the institution during Thursday and Friday sessions and ended with sessions on experiential learning tools and on-line courses for pre-departure and reorientation programs.

For more information, contact Anne Ledvina at Birmingham-Southern College at (205)226-7722 or or Meghan Olivier, Project Coordinator at (205)226-7717 or


updated 8/31/05

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