Creating Virtual Exchanges: Promoting Intercultural Knowledge When Study Abroad Is Not Possible
- Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy
- Penn State University Press
- Volume 30, Number 2, 2020
- pp. 148-162
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This article describes how to create virtual exchanges during times when study abroad, in its original state, cannot be accomplished, such as during the COVID pandemic. It discusses how two professors from a liberal arts institution in the US American South used two virtual exchange projects with universities in Spain and Egypt to debunk stereotypes and fight national narrow-mindedness while promoting intercultural knowledge. Focusing on recognizing our own biases through active learning classrooms, promoting twenty-first-century skills, and using digital technologies have the potential of not only rethinking stereotypes, but also combating the notion of “West as best.” Developing relationships among U.S college students and university students from the countries they are studying, in this case Spain and Egypt, with virtual exchanges help all learners to empathize, understand, and stretch their perspectives. Building empathy and expanding perspectives can be transformational and ultimately help students become more inclusive, global citizens.