See the World
"The Study Abroad Office’s “See the World” presentation is designed to give students the tools they need in order to start thinking about the many international education opportunities available at USC. Peers and graduate students highlight their own international experiences and facilitate a discussion on opportunities for overseas study, internship, research and service. With this highly interactive environment, no two presentations are exactly alike. “See the World” presenters will discuss the benefits of international education, and addresses students’ individual concerns by dispelling study abroad myths. Presenters then outline the steps students need to take to begin the study abroad process.
The “See the World” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:
II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina
a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement
Students will learn about the services offered by Study Abroad Office. The presentation gives them an overview of how to get started in studying abroad and the types of opportunities available. Through a presentation about their own experience, the presenter demonstrates to students how they (a peer) connected an education abroad experience to their own larger educational experience at USC. Through discussion and reflection, the moderator will help students understand how international education connects to their own personal, professional, and academic goals.
III. Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World
a. Examine how their background and experiences impact their values and assumptions and explain the influence these have on their relationships with others
One of the most important topics we address in the “See the World” presentation is a discussion of misconceptions and assumptions about education abroad. Examples include "I couldn't possibly afford it" and "It's not for students in my major". We work to eliminate barriers by demonstrating how students can make it work for them. This affects students' relationships with others, because there is a perception that this global communication and relationship-building opportunity may be closed to some students, or that they may be somehow excluded from the study abroad community. In addition, because one of the major learning outcomes of study abroad has to do with cross-cultural communication and understanding one's own values and assumptions as they relate to others in a cross-cultural context, the returnee student who facilitates the presentation will be a model of this learning outcome at work.
As a result of attending this presentation students will:
- Understand the importance of international education to personal, academic and professional development, and learn reasons to get excited about studying abroad
- Dispel myths about global education programs, such as "It's not affordable" or "I can't go abroad with my major," by interacting with study abroad returnees and learning from them what the study abroad experience is like
- Become familiar with the Study Abroad Office as a campus resource for international study, and understand the basics of how the study abroad process works, including general information about the wide array of overseas programs available, the applicability of scholarships and financial aid and the credit approval process
The majority of presentations are done by peer advisors, peer interns, or graduate assistants. These students are paid employees of the Study Abroad Office and are trained on the office's policies and procedures, as well as the presentation format. As needed, full time staff may present or co-present. The outline may change slightly due to class interests, student majors, etc:
- We start with introductions. In addition to learning about the moderator, this is also an opportunity for the presenter to learn the students' majors and where they may be interested in studying.
- We then move into an internationally-themed icebreaker. While this activity may change, the idea is to get students thinking about international themes and involved in the discussion.
- The presenter gives a personalized presentation about his/her own study abroad experience. This is an opportunity for the class to connect with a peer who made the decision to go abroad. Presenters are encouraged to highlight some of their favorite things and experiences, use pictures from their time abroad, and talk about how they made the decision to go.
- Following the individual presentation by the moderator, we ask the class to reflect on their own study abroad goals. To facilitate this process, we have created a "Scattergories Abroad" game. The three major topics we cover are
- WHERE: Countries, cities and regions where students might want to study abroad
- WHY: Advantages of study abroad
- WHY NOT: Barriers or perceived barriers to study abroad
- The moderator discusses and debriefs each category (WHERE/WHY/WHY NOT). This is an opportunity for the peer leader to tell students about key things such as:
- Different types of study abroad programs available and where students can go.
- Personal, academic, and career advantages to study abroad.
- Available scholarships, how to start planning, and how to get your courses approved in your major to go abroad.
- The moderator then lets students know how to get started with the Study Abroad Office, and allows time for additional questions.
50 minutes or 75 minutes
The majority of presentations are done by either graduate or undergraduate students who work in the study abroad office. Occasionally, full time staff may facilitate the presentation, and volunteers may contribute to portions of these presentation. All presenters take part in training on how to present the topic. Training covers the “See the World” presentation specifically, but also general presentation skills, classroom etiquette and expectations. Presenters perform mock presentations during this training, and as employees of the Study Abroad Office participate in-depth training of study abroad procedures, web resources, and when to refer a student to an advisor. This allows our presenters to both share their personal experience studying abroad and to relate students' questions to their own story. A full-time staff member observes each presenter's first 2-3 presentations to give them personalized feedback to further develop their individual presentation styles.