There is an excellent article in today’s Inside Higher Ed regarding various types of study abroad programs. The author discusses the differences between those programs which send students to another country as basically tourists versus those programs that actually try to give the students some cultural background of the countries being visited.
The safe approach, and one taken by most students, is to go to a European country, stay with the other American’s in your group and visit the major tourist attractions. Yes this is travel abroad from which you might gain some insight into other cultures. However, to truly experience another culture the author discusses the “high road” programs which focus more on cultural integration of the students to really understand people different from ourselves.
College is about learning about things but also about ourselves and others. In this global society that we are living in, understanding those with different backgrounds is becoming more important. Hopefully, more students will consider attending “high road” programs.