International study course prepares for virtual trip

Tuesday, July 14, 2020
by Marketing & Culture Team - International Study Trip Course S2020NYC



Coming to you from our virtual International Study Trip course classroom, we are the Marketing & culture team: Abirna, Jennie, Katie, and Rebecca. Today, we want to share with you - our behind the scene experience of planning our International Study Opportunity to New York City. Our team was originally called the Meals & Culture team, with a goal to immerse our class with the customs and traditions of New York City, while boosting class morale. For us, COVID-19 had a direct impact on our experiences and our original responsibility in the course. With the global pandemic, we are unable to step foot outside and hence the Meals & Culture team pivoted our role to focus on Marketing & Culture to better fit our virtual learning experience.



If you asked us ten years ago, if it was possible to experience an unknown city while getting to know people without leaving the comfort of our homes, we would’ve told you that it’s impossible. However, this trip challenged our thinking and allowed for us to utilize available technology. Sites and tools such as WebEx, Facebook, Google Drive, and have made it possible to learn about NYC, network, and form lifelong connections. The journey started out with 12 individuals who didn’t really know each other at all. If you asked us about the other classmates, we probably didn’t have anything to say other than ”oh yea, I think I’ve seen them on my class list?” To develop a more meaningful connection between students we created “virtual coffee chats” to provide students in the International Study Trip course to an opportunity to learn at least one thing about one another. The goal is for the students from our International Study Trip course to expand their networks to create a foundation and a group of individuals that could help them throughout their academic journey and well into their respective careers. Having these chats have allowed students to get to know upper-year classmates, current classmates, and develop new connections.



In order to encourage connections within our classes, we scheduled competitive games at the beginning of each class to help lighten the mood to act as “ice breakers”. The course was not designed to be a traditionally structured course with midterms and just going about your business until the final mark. We connect, create closer relationships, have fun, and promote an experience unlike students have explored before.  



Our original plan was to go to New York City and see the sights of the city such as the MET, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty and even experience the famous Lox Bagels!  Although we couldn’t see all of it physically, we challenged the status quo and broke through the traditions typically done in prior classes - with the need to be physically in the city -  to understand the NYC culture. Instead, we went beyond the physical experience to incorporate virtual tours of museums, galleries, and promote culture through watching New York based movies, allowing us to learn about NYC culture from a different perspective. We were able to learn that with developing technology, our learning is never restricted to just physical interactions.