The New E-Learning Trend
Online study abroad programs allow students to study abroad while taking online courses through their home colleges or universities. Such courses allow students to maintain a closer connection to their home school and to engage in a study with other students studying abroad in the same location or even different locations. Such programs can help keep the costs of studying abroad lower and can allow students to keep a more consistent and predictable course of study. While online study abroad programs are not for everyone—especially those who prefer to study on campus at schools in other countries—they are certainly convenient for students who enjoy such programs’ familiarity, predictability, and lower costs. Additionally, some online study abroad programs afford students the opportunity to travel to places less frequently travelled by study abroad students and to engage in studies more consistent with their own academic interests and goals.
Many students in online study abroad programs engage in online courses prior to travelling to their host countries. Such courses prepare students for international travel, allow them to study the social, cultural, and economic dynamics of their host countries, and engage with other students who are preparing to engage on a study abroad opportunity of their own. Again, these courses may be offered only to students travelling to one destination or to students traveling to multiple destinations. Because of this, pre-travel courses may be highly generic or deeply specialized and focused.
Courses During Travel
Online study abroad courses require students to engage in online learning while studying abroad. Such courses are designed to complement and enhance students’ activities and circumstances as they unfold in their host countries. Courses that students take during their studies may cover general subjects, such as economics, globalization, women’s health, etc., that students can apply to their experiences, or they may cover country or region specific subjects that students can apply to their experiences. Online courses, as mentioned above, allow students to engage in international travel while maintaining a closer connection to their home colleges and universities. They can also allow study abroad students to more broadly share and process their experiences.
Some online study abroad programs also offer hybrid course in which students take courses online and take classes through a host college or university.
Upon returning home, study abroad students may complete their studies by engaging in post-travel online courses. Such courses allow students to share their experiences, process their new ideas and insights, and share with professors and other study abroad students what they learned through their experiences. In this way, online study abroad programs allow students to share their experiences more broadly and perhaps process and understand them more deeply.
Annie Rose Stathes is a Colorado-based writer, teacher and political scientist. Her background is in international affairs and she holds a Master of Arts degree in Political Science.