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Implementing Sustained Dialogue in Education Abroad Programs
Wednesday, 22 Mar 2023
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
303 International Center
Office for Education Abroad
Event Details:

The Office for Education Abroad presents the following session as part of its workshop series, Building an Education Abroad Community of Practice.

Implementing Sustained Dialogue in Education Abroad Programs

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
303 International Center



  • Judy Walgren, College of Communication Arts and Sciences
  • Teresa Mastin, College of Communication Arts and Sciences

Education abroad programs are important tools for creating globally minded citizens. However, these programs lack diversity among the students who participate, as well as among the program directors who lead them. Helping students learn how to build strong and diverse relationships could be part of the solution. This workshop highlights how education abroad program leaders can recruit interculturally diverse students and implement practices and processes that facilitate a safe environment for students to explore identities, examine their beliefs and (implicit) biases and work on their abilities to connect with people who come from different backgrounds and/or belief systems.

Research shows that education abroad programs intentionally constructed around a framework that allows for powerful connections and lasting relationships to form through deep and active listening exercises, facilitated sharing, mindful role playing and unscheduled free time to process and further connect can help participants gain this critical intercultural awareness. In turn, when students’ interculturally diverse backgrounds detract from stated learning goals, program objectives or in-country experiences, leaders can be prepared to mindfully intervene, thus maintaining consistent emotional safety for participants and the learning environment. Human beings flourish when they feel heard, seen and safe.

As leaders of the Visual Storytelling program in Kenya, we feel that Sustained Dialogue provides this important framework that leads to successfully reaching these important objectives. Furthermore, as co-leaders of the program who come from different backgrounds and cultures, we believe strongly that we need to also support faculty to actively seek to form strong, engaging and safe connections with colleagues from different backgrounds then apply what they learn and the relationships they make to their EA programs. We believe that by thoughtfully constructing an EA program—starting with the people leading it to the final presentation dinner— there is no better hands-on training and practice to inspire students to become global citizens, and in turn, leaders in their professions and communities. Practicing Sustained Dialogue from the first program meeting to the last is the main tool we use to make sure we succeed in calling everyone in and leaving no one behind.