Imagining Tomorrow's Media Through Study Abroad Programs How Cultural Differences Impact Mass Media Courses

Exposure to another culture through a study abroad experience has long been considered an ideal opportunity to develop intercultural competence (Engle & Engle, 2004; Norris & Steinberg, 2008; Pederson, 2009; Pitts, 2009).

Specifics about Shenandoah Students

Large number of student athletes

Significant population of first-generation students (college and global travel)

Study Abroad – Non-existent prior to 1999

No formal structures

No interest was expressed

Shenandoah University responded by creating sequenced and experientially based study abroad programming. More specifically, the case is made for the use of learning styles and motivation engagement concepts as a basis for intentionally designed short programs to dismantle barriers that inhibit participation rates in traditional study abroad opportunities.

SU is a small school requiring creativity with the content of the class to make it go

matryoshka dolls are an apt metaphor for the Russian experience

Choosing Russia

The McDonald's right outside Red Square

Students seem to be more cautious of Russia. The stereotypes have made them wary.

"Someone is going to snatch me and take a kidney."

"I'm going to get robbed if I go out at night."

"Russians just scare me. They don't seem very friendly."

He was a scary as he looks
Moscow parking job
Police in Red Square

This class had three challenges.

  1. Fear
  2. A cluster of students who were not media students.
  3. The inherent difficulty of working with a language, an alphabet and cultural attitude so different than our own that even the well-traveled students felt out of place.

It was often a challenge to make them more than tourists.

They also perpetuate American stereotypes

It is a long flight

Tip 1. Be prepared for shock some students will experience

Ride down the deepest subway in the world

And is still disgusted

Posing for pictures more important than seeing Peter

Never under estimate their interest in themselves

They never get tired of the topic.

But they do tire of each other

Tip 2. Don't let students form cliques.

Seek out that which they can first understand. Those who look and act like them (or how they would like to look and act.)

Your job becomes helping them to see the sites and the people they may miss. We worked on emmersions exercises. Students had to sit in one spot, alone, for one hour and "observe and report" through writing and photographing the experience.

Cooling her feet in the public fountain

The begging circle has changed in 10 years

An older woman ingesting old media

Olga Ivanova - Editor and assorted publisher of

The Soviet remnants
Not everything looks like northern Va

Mohammed Almere - proud Saudi national

When they really started to notice that they were someplace different is when they began to see and experience harassment.

I used the bell as a metaphor: it only rang once and crack. Don't make this trip a single ring.

People watching in front of Lenin's tomb.


Made with love by Kelley Crowley

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