Thursday, October 4, 2012

Studying Abroad over Thanksgiving Break?

As many know, I post a daily "Study Abroad Tweet of the Day" over on IHEC Blog's Facebook page (which is really the place to be right now as my schedule has been so busy that I haven't posted here on IHEC Blog for a long time and I'm using the FB page as a micro-blog).  Today I selected the following tweet"

"Got an email about study abroad in Cuba thanksgiving break"

There are a couple of reasons why I selected this to be the tweet of the day.  The first reason is because last week the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) within the U.S. Treasury Department began to renew people-to-people licenses.  Second, and more importantly, I was struck by the use of the term "study abroad" during Thanksgiving break.

To be sure, there are many unknown variables about this Cuba study abroad program such as how long would this program be?  Would it be 4-5 days and does this include travel?  What is the itinerary and the number of academic contact hours?  You could fit 30 contact hours into this type of short-term program.  You get the picture...I don't need to list more.

A question I have is:  Is this really study abroad?  In other words, can you really have a study abroad program over Thanksgiving break?

There are many opinions on this short-term study abroad programming and I would love to hear what you think in the comment section below!

For the sake of argument let's say that this visit to Cuba is five days long and is indeed a study abroad program where the participants receive academic credit (thus making them eligible to be counted in the annual Open Doors data collection effort).  These study abroad participants return to campus with grades and academic credit in hand, they join the study abroad alumni club and hopefully integrate this experience into future academic work such as writing a paper or BA on Cuba.

As these returned study abroad students enter their fourth-year (aka Senior year) they learn that highlighting a study abroad experience one's resume or working it into an interview may provide an advantage over other applicants who did not study abroad (according to some research).

Questions I have about this scenario include:

How should a student list a five day study abroad trip to Cuba on their resume?

Would recruiters/employers view this time in Cuba as a study abroad experience?

Could listing a five day academic experience in Cuba on a resume as participation on a study abroad program actually hurt one's application?

What are your thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. The best way to include this in a resume would depend on the job. If the student believes, based on their research, that the employer might have a specific interest in Cuba it could work to their advantage. Or really, seeing as what an exceptional case travel to Cuba is, they could include it in a resume to grab an employer’s eye.

    But I think it might be confusing to call it study abroad. Although there is debate among international educators over what “study abroad” means and the related terminology I think we have to keep in mind what most people understand as study abroad (e.g. from one month up to a year abroad attending classes). According to the commonly held idea of study abroad this doesn’t fit. I would use, perhaps, the title that was used officially by the company/school that organized it.

    Speaking from personal experience, I went to Slovakia in high school for a week and, although it wasn’t for classes, it most certainly made on impact on me and my concept of the world. I don’t think you necessarily have to be somewhere for a long time for it to be eye opening and educational.