International Educator - July/August 2014 - 48

EDUCATION ABROAD

and it expands from there as a new program
idea takes hold and is shaped by local input."
Most successful programs start with
some kind of faculty or institutional connection to local contacts in the host country.
The University of Minnesota began developing programs in Asia, Latin America, Africa,
and the Middle East in the early 1980s. "A
group of faculty and staff, some of whom
were former Peace Corps volunteers created the Minnesota Studies in International
Development programs (MSID)," says Sheila
Collins, associate director of the university's
Learning Abroad Center. "They believed
they would have been more effective volunteers if they had understood more theory
behind international development. So they
started a program that combined development theory with practical experience."
Personal and professional contacts
abroad led to the selection of the initial
sites in Jamaica, Morocco, Columbia, and
Senegal. "These contacts either became our
resident directors or led us to someone else
that became our resident director," Collins
says, and adds, "Student interest, students'
health and safety, and the ability to identify
good on-site faculty all played a part as well."
MSID currently has four program sites-in
Ecuador, India, Kenya, and Senegal. The
university also runs language and culture
programs in Morocco, Tanzania, Turkey,
Venezuela, and Mexico.
The International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), a program
provider based in the Chiang Mai province
of Thailand, began in 1999 when Joe Brockington, associate provost for international
programs at Kalamazoo College, wanted to
create an experiential study abroad program
focused on issues of sustainability and ecology.
"Our work with ISDSI began with a series of initial visits by me to discuss program
possibilities with Mark Ritchie. He had done
some study abroad programming for another
institution in the early 1990s, and had returned to full-time consulting," Brockington
says. "I was interested in developing a program that would immerse our students in the
history, culture, and economic practicalities
of a developing nation." I wanted them to
48

INTERNATIONAL EDUCATOR J U LY + AU G . 1 4

Advice From
the Experts
"Do not rush. Do your
homework. Make sure you are
working with the right people
on-site, and that you have your
own faculty's buy-in. On-site
faculty and staff training is also
extremely important."
-Sheila Collins, University of Minnesota

"Find local partners who are
already living and working in
those locations so that you can
truly engage with the issues on
the ground that are important
to local communities."
-Mark Ritchie, ISDSI

"We do not go with the idea
that we are there to 'fix' things
in Uganda. We are there to be
immersed in the culture and
learn from Ugandans, as well
as from our experience."
-Ardith Peters, Kennesaw State University

"Know the location thoroughly
(and contemporaneously)
or have someone living in
that location who knows
the location and has known
it over time. Develop risk
assessment, risk mitigation,
risk management plans as you
are developing the program."
-Joe Brockington, Kalamazoo College

"This is a long-term
commitment and one that
cannot be taken lightly. Instead
of starting from scratch,
consider partnering with other
institutions that already have
programs."
-Laurie Black, SIT Study Abroad

have at least one course in Thai language,
and a cultural project that would bring them
into the inner workings of an NGO or social
service agency. I also wanted them to have
at least part of the time be in a homestay.
Although I advised and represented the college's point of view, I left the content of the
courses and the overall structure of the program to Mark who had his PhD in sociology
and years of on-the-ground experience in
Thailand. I found his engagement on behalf
of the local peoples particularly admirable. I
also agreed with his educational philosophy
that students should be taken out of their
comfort zones and put in contact with local
people who would determine the agenda of
projects, and often what was taught."
Now in its 15th year, ISDSI works with
a number of partner schools. "All of our
courses are community based," Ritchie says.
"That is, we develop our courses based on the
needs and input of the community, with their
full buy-in and support. Because we work so
closely with them, our courses play a key role
in capacity building and community empowerment. Rather than our students coming to
'help' the marginalized, they are going to
learn and to listen. Local experts teach our
students, and students live with and work
alongside community members while learning about mangrove conservation, forest
ecology, and sustainable agriculture."
Another Kalamazoo College program
began in 2010. Margaret Wiedenhoeft,
associate director of the Center for International Programs explains, "One of our
faculty members had a connection with a
colleague in Varanasi, India, who was executive director of an NGO called NIRMAN,
which has a mission focusing on educational
issues and accessibility for primary school
students. We have students who have experience working with our civic engagement
office in the Kalamazoo public school system. This seemed like a good opportunity
for our students to see how access and support for primary school education works
in a city like Varanasi." Wiedenhoeft says
it's important for educators who are planning such programs to have a sense of the
type of program they would like to create.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of International Educator - July/August 2014

Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
All Smiles
In Brief
Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
Education Abroad
Forum
In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Brief
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 13
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 14
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 15
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 16
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 17
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Voices: Kakenya Ntaiya: Founder of the Kakenya Center for Excellence
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 19
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 20
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 21
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Revitalizing Education in Afghanistan: Overcoming Decades of Devastation
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 23
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 24
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 25
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 26
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 27
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 28
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 29
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 30
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 31
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 32
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 33
International Educator - July/August 2014 - All Smiles
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 35
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 36
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 37
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 38
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 39
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 40
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 41
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 42
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 43
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 44
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 45
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Education Abroad
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 47
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 48
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 49
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 50
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 51
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Forum
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 53
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 54
International Educator - July/August 2014 - 55
International Educator - July/August 2014 - In Focus
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - Cover4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S1
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S2
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S4
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S5
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S6
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S7
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S8
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S9
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S10
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S11
International Educator - July/August 2014 - S12
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover3
International Educator - July/August 2014 - SCover4
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