ArticlePDF Available

Designing and running a short-term study abroad program in Germany: Guidance for new program directors

Authors:

Abstract

This article is written for educators and administrators at institutions of higher education who would like to create and run a short-term study abroad program for their students. It discusses practical issues that need to be addressed when designing, planning, and maintaining a program by illustrating part of the decision making process that was involved in the development of a summer study program in Germany offered by the author’s department at a large public university.
A preview of the PDF is not available
... Candidates have the opportunity to expand and deepen their knowledge of the German language and culture. Future teachers of the German language have the opportunity to broadcast their experience and genuine information about Germany in their own country (Ecke, 2013). ...
... Für Administratoren und Organisatoren von Auslandsstudienaufenthalten ist von besonderem Interesse, ob sich die Wahrnehmungen und Einstellungen der Studierenden gegenüber der Zweitkultur im Laufe des Aufenthalts verändern (Ecke 2013b). Auf unerfreuliche Erfahrungen im Ausland begründete negative Einstellungen könnten sich entsprechend hemmend auf Motivation und weiteres Studieren der Zweitsprache und Kultur auswirken, was natürlich nicht im Interesse der Organisatoren von Auslandsstudienprogrammen liegt (Ecke 2013a). ...
Chapter
This study investigates the motives, expectations, and perceived gains in language and culture learning of 123 U.S. college students from five generations of a summer study abroad program in Germany. It compares the participants’ perceptions of members of their own national culture and the German culture before program beginning with corresponding measures at program end and explores to what extent these data provide insights into students’ belongings (Zugehörigkeiten). The study found that participants were highly motivated and that they had high expectations for language and culture learning which were only met for culture learning in the perceived learning gains at program end. The (mostly positive) perceptions of the Germans remained relatively stable over the period abroad. Preconceptions were mostly reconfirmed or strengthened. Perceptions about U.S. Americans changed in some cases and suggest a somewhat more positive view of members of the U.S. culture at program end.
... What are the cost-benefit ratios of programs abroad and programs at home? Other potentially interesting issues related to the location of SA are the size of the city that students study in (Dwyer, 2004) and certain characteristics of the city/region: Is it a place that is visited by many English-speaking tourists including Americans or is it a location rarely visited by international tourists (Ecke, 2013b)? ...
Article
Full-text available
Research on learning during study abroad has become a vibrant area within the field of second language acquisition. However, relatively few studies have been published on the outcomes of language and culture learning during study abroad in German-speaking countries. This article (1) critically reviews research on study abroad effects in US and other English-speaking learners of German, and (2) identifies open questions and issues in need of further research. It is hoped that the review will spur more research in this area which in turn may help study abroad program administrators set realistic learning objectives and create optimal learning conditions for their study abroad program participants. Note. Author Posting. © 2008 American Association of Teachers of German. This is the author's version of a prepublication version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the copyright holder for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, 47:2, 19. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/tger.10166.
... Keeping track of classroom observation reports and course evaluations has proven important for various reasons. Both observation reports and especially course evaluations have been used by the BLP as criteria for the nomination of outstanding GATs for teaching awards and for the selection of GATs for teaching positions in the department's summer and study abroad programs (see Ecke, 2013). In turn, keeping track of the names of teaching award recipients and GATs who have been given special assignments has been useful in self-reports for academic program evaluations. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This paper provides strategies and examples of how program administrators can monitor a variety of potentially important indicators for the health of a university language program and how they can utilize technological tools and resources for the collection and analysis of program-relevant data. It identifies and addresses four challenges of a language program: (1) the long-term tracking and monitoring of student enrollments and their meaningful interpretation taking into account both internal (departmental and institutional) and external (regional and national) data, (2) the identification of potential issues of the program and subsequent intervention, (3) the establishment of student profiles that could be relevant for program planning and design, and (4) the tracking of individual students’ success and special achievements in their career paths. The paper makes a case for the use of internal student surveys, complemented by internal and external data as essential components of a continuous, internally-driven program evaluation that will also be of importance for periodic academic program reviews.
Article
Full-text available
In this article, I review the options that teachers and students have to obtain German TV in the U.S.: through satellite and cable networks and by streaming, downloading, or recording TV programs through the internet. I also address how one can access TV programs over the air in the German-speaking countries by using a notebook PC and TV card.
Article
This study, conducted by IES in late 2002, was designed to measure the longitudinal correlations between specific program features—language study, housing choice, duration of study, enrollment in foreign university courses, participation in an internship or field study, among others—and a variety of student outcomes. A 54-year-old, not-for-profit, academic consortium, IES regularly conducts formative and summative evaluations of its programs, surveying students both during and immediately after their study abroad experiences. This longitudinal study was undertaken with the intent of comparing end of academic term evaluation results with longitudinal results. Only through such a retrospective longitudinal study could the sustainability of results, the effects of program design, and the impact of shifts in student participation patterns be assessed.
Article
This paper presents four case studies to demonstrate developments in oral proficiency made by advanced learners of English during two months in England. The data base consists of picture story oral narratives. Performance shortly after arrival in Britain is compared with that at the end of the two months. Assessment was by: subjective reactions of a panel of experienced native-speaker EFL teachers quantitative analysis of transcriptions of recordings. An attempt is made to apply VORSTER’s (1980) components of proficiency developed for use with children mother tongue speakers. The main findings were as follows: There was considerable dissension among teachers, so that the reliability of subjective teacher assessment in such cases must be seriously questioned. Results on the objective quantitative measures were very chequered, suggesting that the variables chosen did not, in many cases, function well to identify developments over so short a period. Nevertheless, there were clear trends towards improvements in productivity and modality (co-verbs). There were signs of individual differences among subjects in route of development.
Article
Despite widespread use of self-assessment, teachers have doubts about the value and accuracy of the technique. This article reviews research evidence on student self-assessment, finding that (1) self-assessment produces consistent results across items, tasks, and short time periods; (2) self-assessment provides information about student achievement that corresponds only in part to the information generated by teacher assessments; (3) self-assessment contributes to higher student achievement and improved behavior. The central finding of this review is that (4) the strengths of self-assessment can be enhanced through training students how to assess their work and each of the weaknesses of the approach (including inflation of grades) can be reduced through teacher action.
Article
Recently the recognition that citizens of the twenty-first century must have a wider, international perspective has been growing in the U.S. As a result, projects have been initiated with the goal of identifying ways to expand the international understanding of students, with special emphasis on study abroad. In this article, the authors summarize and analyze the results of two surveys polling students about their awareness of and involvement in study abroad. They then analyze the findings in the context of U.S. study abroad programs, offering suggestions on how educators and administrators can use the results to plan study abroad recruitment and programs with student needs and expectations in mind.
Article
As we begin to gather assessment data about study abroad outcomes, how can we analyze it intelligently when we have no precise language to differentiate or categorize the types of study abroad experiences associated with that data? How can we contribute to the clear articulation of educational goals in study abroad, goals that can serve as a counterweight to more and more prevalent “student client” expectations? How—drawing students out of their “comfort zones” instead of creating such zones abroad—can we bring renewed value and prestige to the rewarding difficulty and essential challenge inherent in the process of adaptation to cultural difference? As the statistics of Open Doors each year reveal, overall numbers of U.S. overseas study participants have increased steadily and, at times, impressively during the last two decades. And, with study abroad becoming each year a more attractive “recruiting tool” in the “market” for prospective students, such increases in numbers will likely continue. Unfortunately, the road toward rising student participation is insufficiently mapped and signposted as it traverses an international education landscape made ever more complex by choices in program focus, destination, duration, participant preparation and ideal outcome. To articulate and refine our understanding of the differences that characterize this terrain, we will need guides of greater precision. Clearly, it is time to draw distinctions of a qualitative sort—time for international education professionals to consider seriously the elaboration and adoption of one such guide, a hierarchical classification of program types.