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    This topic is where you can provide feedback on the exercises included in “Better Abroad:  Innovative Re-entry Exercises.”


    Abstract Art: 

    Here are examples of images you can use for this exercise. Remember, the images should be abstract to evoke feeling.




    Mixed Colors: 

    If you have other images that you’ve used, feel free to share them with us here!


    I conducted the ?My Manifesto” exercise as part of our Senior Retreat for our students who are completing a BA in Global Studies, where they have spent 6 or 7 semesters abroad, and it went well. I preceded it with a discussion of some of their re-entry challenges that they have faced in the past summers, since most go home for the summer and sometimes winter break, and contrasting that to how the re-entry issues have changed. Since they are in their final semester, they also have the re-entry wrapped into the whole anxiety of graduating, what will they do, etcetera.

    “My Manifesto” was a great way to channel the good energy and collapse it and channel it into a nice summary of what they want to ‘manifest’ in the future!
    Thanks Missy for the great tool!

    Kyle Rausch

    I did a shortened version of the Speed Re-Entry exercise for a group of students who had been selected to be study abroad ambassadors as a sort of training to help them learn how to tell their ‘informal study abroad story.’ I prefaced the activity by stating things to avoid, such as unqualified statements such as “It was life-changing” and encouraged them to go deeper by explaining why.  I also advised them to avoid talking up their partying escapades and the nightlife since this was a training session for them to promote study abroad programs after all 🙂

    Then we conducted the exercise.  My observations were that it got loud…quickly!  It was only 10 students but we were in a small conference room.  I also noticed that it was difficult to get them to stop when the time was up and they needed to switch partners.  After 2 cycles I noted how repetitive the exercise was, but we then talked about what they were experiencing and I indicated how this was indicative of how real life will be–people asking you the same question and you having to relay your story again and again.  I asked what the process was like and they pretty much unanimously agreed it was near impossible to capture their stories into a minute-long speech.  We talked about perhaps focusing on one or two elements of their experiences which would then add variation to their stories and perhaps make it less repetitive.  We then did about 2 more cycles and asked someone to share their ‘elevator speech’ at the end.  The group seemed to really enjoy the exercise and I thought I could see them connecting the dots between realizing how difficult it is to capture their stories in a succinct form that they are able to share with people.

    I think having a bigger space would have been better for me to facilitate this exercise as well as having just a bit more time to discuss and debrief.  I was limited to about 15 minutes.
    I plan on doing this for a much larger group next week!

    Kyle Rausch

    Got to help host my first re-entry event tonight–even though only 10 students showed it was so powerful to see the power of providing meaningful re-entry discussion in action. Students really need this stuff–we had great dialogue and they were so thankful for it. Plus, the speed re-entry exercise was a hit. It’s just a light bulb moment for the students when they realize how difficult it is to summarize their experiences and answer that “So tell me about your study abroad experience” question. And once you get students talking about their experiences, they don’t want to stop. They seemed so grateful to have a forum to talk about their time abroad.

    Some things the students commented on from the exercise:
    Your elevator speech could be vastly different depending upon who you are talking to.
    It’s a good idea to think of 4 or 5 highlights and craft elevator speeches around those so you are ready to talk about any of them at a given time.
    They felt like they were far from perfect and that it really would take some time to ‘get it right.’


    I’ve been delivering “Being Abroad Is…” virtually and it is working really well! I have offered it 3 times online and getting a solid series of sentences and very similar (and what I feel is appropriate) re-entry reflection. I adapt it by asking for 4 – 5 participants to share their words via chat or phone (if applicable) and typing the new sentence(s) for them on the shared screen.  I inform them that the exercise will yield some quirky, disjointed sentences – so that they should not focus on grammar.  I tell them they can’t insert grammar – only I have done that as the facilitator.  We debrief on line with slight modifications in the questions (e.g. instead of asking about how it feels to be handed chalk, we simply ask how did it feel when it was your turn, etc) and participants comment via chat (or phone). This works particularly well if you have students returning to different locations – which is one of the challenges of delivering re-entry programming. If anyone needs help with the technology for offering this one virtually, please contact me at [email protected] – I can rent out my technology for a fraction of what it would cost you to do so through your own org – and handle the tech for you.


    Here is another good reverse map and article to use with the Maptastic exercise! (Thanks Kyle Rausch for sharing this resource!)



    This article has MANY great maps that can be used for the Maptastic exercise! http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/12/40-maps-that-explain-the-world/
    Has anyone tried Maptastic yet? If so, we’d love to hear your feedback! (What worked well? What can be changed? How did students respond? etc.)


    This article has MANY great maps that can be used for the Maptastic exercise! http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2013/08/12/40-maps-that-explain-the-world/
    Has anyone tried Maptastic yet? If so, we’d love to hear your feedback! (What worked well? What can be changed? How did students respond? etc.)


    This feedback is from Tammi Reichel (via an email) from Randolph -Macon University:

    “I used the Speed Re-Entry from Beyond Abroad with our returnees this spring, and it was a great success. With better planning on my part it will be even more helpful to the group next fall – I’ll definitely be repeating this. There is a lot of emphasis on preparation for the “real world” and careers on our campus right now, and this was such a wonderful opportunity to convey to students that they did gain valuable, real-life skills from their experiences and “force” them to articulate those. We are even mentioning this in our presentations to the parents of incoming freshmen – they are more attuned to the real-world benefits of study abroad than the 18 year olds. Fantastic work!”

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