Maximizing the Benefits of Short-Term International Programs: Student Engagement and Reentry Guide for Global Routes Students and Leaders
Study abroad programs have greatly increased in number and program type during the last decade. Due to factors such as academic and financial demands, students are finding short-term programs, typically lasting eight weeks or less, to be the most feasible option. Critics are skeptical of short-term programs questioning whether students are able to gain the depth necessary to achieve cultural awareness, personal growth and new perspectives. Supporters argue that if planned and managed correctly, short-term programs can have meaningful short and long-term impacts on students.
Global Routes, an international education organization headquartered in Windsor, New Hampshire, offers short-term exchange programs that aim to foster personal and international development. Their short-term programs strive to create an environment that engages students throughout their experience. An analysis of Global Routes curriculum using research on program structure and design, student learning, holistic education, youth engagement, empowerment, and reentry, demonstrates that Global Routes programs have a robust curriculum during their programs, yet the program format does not take full advantage of opportunities to engage students prior to or after their programs. In order to address this shortcoming a handbook was designed to supplement the existing Global Routes curriculum. The handbook offers activities, assignments and discussions designed to engage students in their own learning, development and personal growth, prior to, during and after their programs. The first two sections of the handbook (pre-program and during program) are designed for staff and leaders, while the third section is designed as a reentry handbook for students.