Sh*t Study Abroad Students Say

*Note:  If the word “shit” offends you, please do not continue to read this post.

A few weeks ago, I googled “shit study abroad students say” after seeing the brilliant “Shit New Yorkers Say” video sensation.  I was hoping someone would do a version of this for study abroad – and today, in my inbox, it magically appeared!

(Side note: The students who made this video did call it “Stuff Study Abroad Students Say.” I am honoring the “Shit People Say” series by renaming this video with the appropriate “bad” word.)

Now watch this clever video! Laugh. Roll your eyes. Be sad. Smile.  Do whatever feels right for you.  Then read the rest of this post:

Did you enjoy that? Was it hard to watch? Did any of this sound familiar?

It sure did to me.  Four colleges under my belt and I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard these statements. They come from the young voices of (US) Americans from an incredibly ethnocentric country (see this previous Melibee post), one that is slapping together study abroad programs faster than many would like to admit.  Many are revenue driven and poorly designed, leading to students belting out statements like the ones in the video.  (Please don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of schools and 3rd party providers that put great care into study abroad program design and learning outcomes.  But many – let’s face it – don’t. )

The timing of this video really struck me. Yesterday, I had the honor of facilitating an online workshop with Dr. Eric Hartman on Global Service Learning: Design/Reflection/Connection – and it couldn’t have been more timely.  Dr. Hartman spoke of the importance of partnership, culture, careful learning outcomes, mutual respect, addressing our ethnocentricity prior to departure., etc.  The gap between great global service learning program delivery and the “run of the mill” study abroad experience is clear.  These students, in my opinion, did a remarkable job of capturing that delta in this video.

This video will serve as a beautiful new resource for pre-departure, orientation, re-entry programs, classroom discussions and academic programs (international education administration/intercultural studies.)  It has so many applications!

What are your thoughts about this video?  How might you envision it being utilized? What did you appreciate about it? What frustrated you about it?  Let’s get some dialogue going about this subject.

Let me close by extending my heartfelt thanks to the Amizade students for creating not only this video, but the opportunity for all of us to reflect on how we contribute to the statements you have highlighted.  Once again, students are providing teaching opportunities.  Does it get any better than that?