Welcome to our online forum

This online space is intended to help facilitate information sharing and discussion in preparation for a new university-wide pre-departure orientation for summer study abroad programs to be launched under the auspices of the ND International Office this Spring.

This new institutional orientation is not intended to replace existing pre-departure programs among individual units; rather, it is intended as an opportunity to embellish and strengthen existing programs while also providing essential pre-departure preparation for programs that do not yet offer orientations of their own.  The information sharing and development process of the Forum is also intended to help encourage the establishment of new orientation programs among units that want to offer program-specific preparation and do not already.

The inspiration for a university pre-departure orientation came from articulated and recognized needs within the Notre Dame community as well as emerging best practices within international education — emphasizing the need for greater and more substantive preparation among study abroad participants in general and among short-term study abroad programs in the summer in particular.

In order to make our own university pre-departure orientation relevant and meaningful to your students, we will be following a format and pedagogy that draws upon a similar and innovative university-wide pre-departure orientation for study abroad participants at UNC-Chapel Hill.  Under this model, the orientation is run like an academic conference: Students attend a large group plenary to address universal considerations and then select from several concurrent small group sessions on topics of their choosing.  We would also like to incorporate an informal lunch discussion that groups together students preparing to go abroad to the same/similar location with Notre Dame international students from those countries/regions as well as a panel of students who have previously studied abroad.  This approach will allow student participants to select sessions of the greatest relevance to their study abroad experience as it will also allow the orientation program to address a wide range of programmatic needs.

During our inaugural meeting on Friday, our focus was twofold: 1) Information sharing about the many types of pre-departure orientation that are already occurring on campus; and 2) a preliminary discussion of possible content foci for the university orientation in Spring 2012.  Please select the Oct. 28 Meeting menu tab at the left to view minutes, handouts and participant output from this meeting.

Future meeting announcements and materials will be posted here as well as via our listserv.  Please contact me directly at Askildson.2@nd.edu if you have questions or wish to be added to this listserv.

Lance Askildson
Assistant Provost for Internationalization
Notre Dame International Office 

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