Conference: Thursday and Friday, February 5-6, 2015
Pre-conference workshops: Wednesday February 4, 2015
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
WISE is the premier conference focused on intercultural learning during study abroad and other forms of international travel. WISE is a practitioner’s conference focused on helping faculty leaders, program coordinators, student advisors, and other faculty and staff develop the knowledge and skills they need in order to help study abroad students, including international students who “study abroad” in the U.S. or another country, develop intercultural skills and awareness.
WISE is designed for
- Faculty who lead or teach programs abroad
- Faculty who teach or advise international students
- Faculty and administrators who support international education
- Study abroad directors, advisors and coordinators
- Directors and advisors of international students
- Assessment experts
- International education practitioners
- Anyone interested in improving the learning experience when students study outside of their home country
Why focus on intercultural skills and awareness? Many international educators share a common experience: once abroad, they discover that many of their students stay in a “study abroad bubble” and have a difficult time meeting and interacting with local people. They find that many students lack fundamental intercultural skills and are ill-prepared to interact effectively with their hosts. They wish they could help their students find better ways to take advantage of the numerous cross-cultural interactions that lie at the core of the overseas experience.
This conference aims to explore students’ intercultural learning abroad from a variety of angles.
Quotes from past participants:
“The sessions I attended at the WISE conference were outstanding. They were offered by seasoned professionals who understood the pedagogy and the practicality of taking students abroad. I left each session with practical ways to think about engaging students academically and through hands-on experiences that will enhance student learning. I will be incorporating many of the things I learned at the WISE conference in the global seminar I offer in spring 2014.”
– Nanette Hanks, Assistant Dean for Curriculum, College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Program, University of Minnesota
“The WISE conference is an excellent training opportunity for faculty and on-site directors who want to infuse their study abroad programs with activities and experiences that engage students deeply with culture. Participants leave the conference with strong theory about the importance of intercultural competency and greater knowledge about how to make it happen.”
– Amanda Kelso, Assistant Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Executive Director, Global Education Office for Undergraduates, Duke University
“Participating in WISE 2012 helped to solidify some ideas about the benefit and value of pre-trip planning and post-trip debriefing and reflection to students’ study abroad experiences. I had been working with colleagues here at Elon University on designing a set of pre-trip activities for students in a graduate program who would later take an international service-learning course. The international experiences in this course is short—about 10 days—and thus demands that students “hit the ground running.” Our thinking was that any advance intercultural preparation work that we could facilitate as faculty leaders would be beneficial to the students during the in-county portion of the course. After spending two days at WISE learning about the experiences of other faculty, programs, and institutions, I was even more convinced that we were on the right track with our ideas. Our work here at Elon had, at the time, been mostly focused on pre-trip activities and preparation. My experience at WISE was instrumental in also helping me see that post-trip work with students involved with international experiences can be just as important to their academic—and intercultural—growth.”
– Phillip Motley, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication + Interactive Media, Elon University