Best Practices for Planning, Developing, and Sustaining Interdisciplinary Language-Based Study Abroad Programs

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Date
2018-01-01
Authors
Gasta, Chad
Gasta, Chad
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Gasta, Chad
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World Languages and Cultures
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World Languages and Cultures
Abstract

In seventeen years of experience as a study abroad program director, I have seen how university students, faculty members, and administrators have come to share a strategic mission for study or work abroad; namely that programs must provide a meaningful international credential that not only yields a more fruitful undergraduate experience but also creates the potential for a better and higher-paying job upon graduation. I have spoken with many job recruiters over the years who tout the importance of developing an international skill set that requires a profound understanding of other cultures and languages. General news outlets and trade magazines report an intensifying obligation in a competitive global economy to attain proficiency in languages other than English and to gain competence in intercultural issues related to foreign commerce, politics, and society.1 Study abroad programs, especially those with substantive language and cross-cultural training components, can provide excellent tools for addressing these concerns. However, the proliferation of enrollments for reasons other than secondlanguage study has presented existing programs with new challenges. Whereas traditional models, created and maintained by language departments, have emphasized second-language proficiency, new interdisciplinary programs seek meaningful ways to combine language and culture with course work in professional majors such as business, engineering, science, technology, and agriculture (Huebner 2).

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This chapter is published as Chad Gasta "Best Practices for Planning, Developing, and Sustaining Interdisciplinary Language-Based Study Abroad Programs.” Study Abroad: Traditions, Directions, and Innovations. 2018 New York: Modern Language Association.Posted with permission.

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