Empty Meeting Grounds: Situating Intercultural Learning While Abroad with Dr Anthony Ogden

If you think that homestays and field trips are always effective intercultural learning experiences, think again.

<Due to Dr. Ogden’s generosity, a portion of the proceeds from this downloadable tool is donated to the Jane Gluckmann and Carol Rausch Go Global Scholarship!>

anthony-ogdenWhat meeting spaces do students actually learn about culture in while they’re abroad? This interactive, workshop-style webinar challenges MacCannell’s (1992) view of the contact between hosts and guests as “empty meeting grounds” by drawing upon the insights gained from the larger body of existing research to critically examine the meeting grounds of education abroad. Dr. Ogden begins with a critique of the meeting grounds that have traditionally been lauded as spaces where transformative learning takes place and challenge whether these meeting grounds deliver on their promises (such as homestays and classrooms). He argues that the next wave of education abroad outcomes assessment should focus on understanding the meeting grounds of education abroad and critique the intercultural learning that takes places at these points of cultural intersection. Dr. Ogden then argues that globalization, technology and the internationalization of higher education have directly impacted the intercultural learning potential embedded within education abroad programming. In a truly interactive format, participants discussed the influence of these forces and highlight key areas where the traditional junior-year abroad model of education abroad is outdated. Specifically, participants explored innovative approaches for how international educators can more successfully navigate the intercultural learning potential of the contemporary meetings grounds in short-term, education abroad programming. Finally, the discussion reframes the intercultural learning potential of an education abroad experience as an expression of situated learning. In a situated learning approach, new knowledge, skills and attitudes are learned in contexts that reflect how knowledge is obtained and applied in everyday situations. Dr. Ogden argues that it is the role of international educators to facilitate experiences that foster authentic conditions in which students can experience and reflect on the complexity and ambiguity associated with living and studying in a new culture. Positionality, reciprocity and intentionality are presented as three new frontiers through which to better situate intercultural learning in education abroad.


  • A two hour recording from the live session
  • Two handouts and two articles
  • Please note that this tool is not to be used (under copyright) for conferences or multi-campus/regional events. However, it can be used for individuals and for campus activities/groups at one campus


“Empty Meeting Grounds: Situating Intercultural Learning in Education Abroad offered the opportunity to simplify the complex nature of international education assessment into digestible steps. Whether a third-party provider or an office on a university campus, his webinar offered insight, tools, and resources as well as perspectives that hugged the edges of our comfort zones, pushing us all in the field to take a look at the true impact and outcomes of our programming.” –  Heidi Bohn, CISabroad

“I appreciated Dr. Ogden’s willingness to challenge participants by not just acknowledging what they said but by encouraging them to think about the work they do in a new light and that things can and should change.” – Administrator, Arizona State University

About Dr. Anthony (Tony) Ogden

Anthony C. Ogden is Executive Director of Education Abroad and Exchanges at Michigan State University. Ogden earned his bachelor’s degree from Berea College, master’s degree in International and Intercultural Management at the SIT Graduate Institute, and his Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University in Educational Theory and Policy with a dual title in Comparative and International Education.   Ogden has published extensively in the areas of education abroad outcomes assessment, including a new book early this year,  International Higher Education’s Scholar-Practitioners: Bridging Research and Practice.

Includes 2 hour recording from the live session, 2 handouts and 2 articles