Coming home: Continuing intercultural learning during the re-entry semester following a study abroad experience
Keywords:study abroad, teacher education, intercultural competence
International experiences through structured study abroad programs are proposed as a powerful way to impact pre-service teachers’ intercultural understandings and competence. In recent years attention has been placed on the nature of such study abroad programs, seeking to illuminate design elements that might enhance intercultural learning prior to, during, and after such programs. Though acknowledged as a vital component to such experiences, the literature lacks exploration of the nature of program design once students’ return to their home university, termed the “re-entry” phase. This article presents findings from a case study of a pre-service teacher during the semester following a study abroad program, illuminating programmatic elements of the re-entry semester that provided the student with the support needed to leverage intercultural learning begun during the international experience once she returned to their home university. The findings provide insight into the importance of providing purposefully designed re-entry programs that support students’ continued intercultural learning, particularly in helping students learn to look at themselves, U.S. schools, and domestic diversity through a critical cultural lens.