World Citizen Initiative
School Year Abroad’s goal has always been to prepare students to become citizens of the world by providing them with an overseas experience where they learned a new
language and culture and lived with a host family. We have counted on the overall experience to instill the values we hold dear: broad-mindedness, adaptability, self-reliance, and responsible decision-making. During a five-week program, however, where the students arrive with little to no skills in the local language, we realize that we have to be more intentional with the curriculum and planned activities in order to achieve this kind of student transformation. We are excited to have teamed up with Michelle Harth
from Global Studies Foundation
in order to accomplish our goals.
SYA Summer’s newest initiative in Italy is designed to be a holistic global experience. The language classes, homestay and excursions are still a valuable part of the overall experience, but we have also supplemented the curriculum in order to expose the students to global issues in a way that will enhance the following 21st-century skills: research and analysis, comparison, group work, collaborative problem-solving, oral and written persuasion.
Each day the students will attend classes in the morning, in and outside of the “traditional classroom.” They will spend two hours on practical, conversational Italian and two hours on global issues (taught in English) such as demographics and population, environment and resources, and economics and politics. The themes presented in both courses are designed to carry over into the afternoon activities so that the students have an integrated experience.
To cap off the experience, students will spend the final week in Lampedusa (Sicily) living and working at a Marine Turtle Recovery Center run by the WWF. This project will allow the students to give back to the community as well as teach them valuable environmental lessons. In addition, the island -- located close to Tunisia -- gives the students a window into complex issues of immigration.