Expanding study abroad in a global context
Architecture programs in the U.S. have incorporated study abroad experiences as a means of exposing students to geographical and cultural diversity. This paper analyzes and promotes an innovative approach to study abroad called Nexus Abroad. A summer 2016 iteration involving a group of faculty and students from varied disciplines serves as a case study. The three-week-long course combined geographical and cultural diversity with a collaborative, transdisciplinary structure, providing students with a more integrated global perspective. It accomplished that not through a studio project, but by focusing on a common theme in which architecture was studied as one of many components that constitute a society. The course united liberal-artsderived goals of global awareness, resourcefulness, and openness to other cultures with discipline-specific goals, in this case four National Architectural Accrediting Board student performance criteria. The benefits of and potential improvements to this short study-abroad course are revealed by examining student deliverables and focused interviews, comparing pre- and post-course surveys, and evaluating students’ grades before and after their participation in Nexus Abroad.
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