Investing in International Study Trips

January 12, 2011

Preparing the next generation of scholars to embrace global perspectives is a bold mission. In the College of Education, so is the action plan.

Beginning next academic year and beyond, all doctoral students in the college will have the opportunity to participate in a faculty-led study trip to an international destination – with most major expenses paid.

These trips will immerse students in cultures very different from their own and provide unique opportunities to learn about aspects of the host nation’s educational system. Unlike traditional study abroad programs, students do not take courses for credit during the two- to three-week time period. They visit school settings to learn about teaching practices, curriculum and policies from teachers and administrators. They also have opportunities to engage in discussions relevant to their own interests with faculty and graduate students at a partnering university.

College of Education Dean Carole Ames decided to extend international study trips to all Ph.D. students after successfully sending groups of doctoral students to China during the past two years. Those experiences, arranged through a partnership with Southwest University in Chongqing, enhanced students’ learning about the K-16 educational system in China and brought a global perspective to their own studies and career aspirations.

“All of our students must have a breadth of knowledge and experience to fully understand today’s educational issues in a flat world,” Ames said. “We want this international experience to influence how doctoral students teach, and how they conduct research.

“It is a very important investment for us.”

Faculty members have been challenged to propose, and plan, the study trips to countries where students can stretch their thinking. The trips are primarily for doctoral students in their first three years at MSU and must be of interest to candidates across various programs and departments in the college.

The college will cover the costs of travel and housing for each qualified, full-time doctoral candidate to participate in one trip. Additional expenses may also be covered.

Reitumetse Mabokela, a professor of higher education with a strong record of international research, is coordinating the program. She said three international study trips will take place during summer 2011: to Botswana, Vietnam and China.

For more information

If there are general questions, please contact Dr. Mabokela, or 517-353-6676. If students have specific questions about a particular study tour, please contact the faculty coordinator(s) of that program.