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a virtual key to promoting interaction and participation


Speaking at the Institute of International Education Study abroad at a crossroads of coronavirus virtual panel discussion May 20, Senior Scholarship Director George Mason University and NAFSA President LaNitra Berger said virtual international exchanges were positive during the pandemic.

Speakers suggested that the continued use of online and virtual options will continue after Covid-19.

“Eventually, we saw that virtual programming is an important part of comprehensive internationalization,” Berger said. “And that’s really the goal … we want to be able to offer a lot of different programs at different levels.”

Berger noted that because sector leaders worked diligently to ensure the safety of students at home and abroad during the pandemic, the moment of racial justice in the U.S. was also at the forefront of the minds of many students and faculty.

“During the pandemic, watching these events and trying to understand the country in which we live and the world in which we live, I saw an opportunity to use the moment to really explore some of these social inequalities … [and] think about what studying abroad might look like in the future, ”Berger said.

Opportunities to participate in virtual international exchange and language immersion programs increased during the pandemic, Berger argued, highlighting many positive experiences students shared with her about their virtual programs.

She also stressed that while virtual programming often increases access for the underserved, practitioners still need to make sure that they are accessible to students with disabilities, chronic illnesses, difficulties with access to technology and those who have to work. at multiple jobs to support themselves and their families. .

Dan Davidson, Honored President American Councils discussed analyzing data on internationalization during the pandemic to “provide an empirical copy of what we study in large-scale, large-scale immersion programs run by the U.S. Council on behalf of the U.S. government”.

“These new opportunities can be very valuable for those who cannot travel abroad”

Davidson spoke of “time to complete assignments” in relation to the amount of time students spend using the target language during both face-to-face and online immersion programs. He said the results often depend on the program model, delivery, duration, housing location and many other variables.

“It’s important to have realistic expectations regarding online learning outcomes … because these new opportunities can be very valuable for those who can’t travel abroad for health, employment or family reasons. [reasons]”- suggested Davidson.

“This is not the last pandemic; this is not the last crisis, ”said Alan Goodman, CEO IIEencouraging the sector to ensure that they have a “game book” in which they note strategies and lessons learned.

“I want to make sure that everyone who listens develops textbooks. Don’t throw away the one you could have developed in the early days of Covid-19, but upgrade it and teach people to use it ”.

“We need to keep using both [in-person and virtual international experiences] as ways to promote student participation and participation in the field, ”said Don Whitehead, vice president American Association of Colleges and Universities.

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