Service Abroad

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  • Title: Service Abroad: Exploring Cultural Understanding through Service-Learning Experiences in Fiji
  • Author(s): Amanda J Gale, Stephanie Sickler
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Design in Society
  • Keywords: Study Abroad, Experiential Learning, Cultural Understanding, International
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 2325-1328 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1360 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1328/CGP/v13i04/1-18
  • Citation: Gale, Amanda J, and Stephanie Sickler. 2019. "Service Abroad: Exploring Cultural Understanding through Service-Learning Experiences in Fiji." The International Journal of Design in Society 13 (4): 1-18. doi:10.18848/2325-1328/CGP/v13i04/1-18.
  • Extent: 12 pages

Abstract

A case study approach within a transformative learning framework was undertaken during a study abroad program located on a remote Fijian island. This immersion experience in local Mali culture was intended to expand student perspectives on globalization, economic development, and consumerism in an interdisciplinary collaborative setting. The purpose of the study was to explore the potential for a short-term study abroad experience to create more meaningful experiences that nurture students into global citizens attuned to the needs of a variety of people outside their scope of experiences. Students completed reflective writing exercises throughout their experience documenting their journey of understanding. Content analysis was conducted using multimodal measures for examining cultural awareness as depicted in reflective writings. Findings describe the evolution of student understanding of cultural values, societal norms, verbal and non-verbal communication, economic sustenance, and relationships. The majority of reflections described values and norms and socio-linguistics, indicating an increase in students’ cultural awareness of key issues facing the Fijians.