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Meaningful International Experience

The International Education Committee (IEC) was charged by the Provost’s office to prepare a definition of a ‘meaningful international experience’. Through this definition, the College will have the ability to expand international academic opportunities, ensure greater consistency in the outcomes of these experiences and support academic programs interested in inclusion of these activities within their curricular program design. Throughout the process to develop this document the IEC consulted with faculty in a variety of ways. Through review of this feedback, the IEC felt that it is most important for specific activities to be defined and designed within each academic program to ensure practice and theoretical relevance. The idea is not that EVERY course includes a MIE, but that the program include a MIE as an integral part of the entire academic program as a graduation requirement. Therefore, what follows is general information on meaningful international experiences.

Ramapo College has always held international education as core principle. In the development of the College’s current Strategic Plan, designed by a task force comprised of faculty, staff, students and trustees, there is specific mention about the importance of international education. The Ramapo College Strategic Plan, (Achievement Target 1.1.2) calls for ‘50% of undergraduate major programs [to] require successful engagement by graduation in a meaningful international experience’.  Over the last few years, this was defined simply as any academic program that has been approved through the Roukema Center for International Education. Any participant received transcription in the INTD 011 – International Academic Experience – course (0 credits) in order to have this integrate with the degree audit process. Therefore, any program that currently required such a requirement could easily identify a student’s satisfaction of said requirement. Therefore, the International Education Committee has prepared the following document to help guide the disciplines on what is a ‘meaningful international experience’ (MIE), through this expanded definition.

Full document: Meaningful International Experience (*pdf)

Transformation through experiential programs and activities specifically designed to improve global competencies & critically engage with the discipline within a global context.

In an effort to avoid creating an additional set of student learning outcomes, those core elements listed below have been adapted from existing lists of outcomes within international academic programs and general education.

Ideally, a Meaningful International Experience (MIE) should meet two sets of outcomes. One set of outcomes concerns global/cultural awareness and communication. Those outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • Articulate what it means to be the ‘other’
  • Strengthen and develop an understanding of the importance and implications of intercultural communication within a variety of contexts (cultural, disciplinary, linguistic, business, social, etc.) through interactions and communications with cultures different from one’s own and through post-experience reflections
  • Develop geographic literacy (physical, social, cultural and ecological

In all likelihood, a student will meet one or more outcomes related to global/cultural awareness and communication by taking a course in the Global Awareness category in general education. Thus, the MIE could simply reinforce those outcomes either explicitly or implicitly. To reinforce the outcomes explicitly, the program may consider including or refining a global/cultural awareness and communication outcome–either one listed above or one assigned to Global Awareness. Alternatively, the program may consider reinforcing the outcomes implicitly through a discipline-related outcome (as described below).

The other set of outcomes for the MIE concern the academic discipline within the global context. These outcomes include, but are not limited to:

  • Broaden and apply disciplinary knowledge, perspectives and/or skills beyond the U.S. context and reflect on these to become professionals within the discipline.

This discipline-related outcome is broad enough to include, implicitly at least, the global/cultural awareness and communication outcome (reinforced from general education) while focusing the MIE on the major. At minimum, an approved MIE must meet the disciplinary outcome cited above or a refined version of it.

Download the MIE Plan – Template (*doc)

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