VALUE Research Hub

Developing Global Learning in a Home-grown Short-term Program Abroad: A Case Study in Germany


Chamberlin, R. (2018, April 5). Developing Global Learning in a Home-grown Short-term Program Abroad: A Case Study in Germany. SouthEast Coastal Conference on Languages & Literatures (SECCLL).


This presentation will demonstrate how a team-taught four-week advanced German course in Würzburg, Germany helps students develop intercultural competence and global learning skills. In addition to the goal of increasing proficiency in the target language, language programs now also promise study abroad experiences that help achieve intercultural knowledge and competence, defined by the AAC&U as “a set of cognitive, affective, and behavioral skills and characteristics that support effective and appropriate interaction in a variety of cultural contexts”, and global learning, which affords “meaningful opportunities to analyze and explore complex global challenges, collaborate respectfully with diverse others, [and] apply learning to take responsible action in contemporary global contexts.” (Global Learning Value Rubrics) The presenters, German faculty from Lebanon Valley College and Hillsdale College, will outline how they have together created a summer in Germany program that engages students in unique immersive experiences under their direct control. Three course activities described in this presentation trace the process of first acquiring knowledge and understanding of cultural material, then applying this knowledge in immersive experiences outside of the classroom, followed by reflective and evaluative writing and discussion. The first, a “treasure hunt”, invites students to explore the city of Würzburg on foot with an information-gap activity, to discover historical events and cultural institutions that shaped the city, and to draw comparisons with their home town on how cultural values are transmitted into a city’s layout and organization. The second is based on the reading of a play in German, the public performance of scenes by the students themselves, and finally viewing a professional performance of that play. Third, students apply their knowledge of the current refugee situation in Germany to engagement on the local level by participating in a weekly “teatime” in Würzburg’s Communal Residence for Refugees. Here they interact with young refugees as well as with native student volunteers in a recreational setting, and afterward reflect upon these interactions in a blog journal.