Skip to content

Reflexivity before, during & after programs

“We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.”― John Dewey

Study abroad has the potential to deeply impact how students views themselves and their place in the world. In order to achieve this transformative change, space for reflective activities and processing before, during and after a program needs to be created. Reflection helps students critically process what they experiencing, can help encourage identity development in relation to the host country context, provides an important outlet when students encounter challenging situations and helps the blending of academic content with personal experience.

This book by UW professor Dr. Anu Taranath is a collection of letters that her students have written during their study abroad program in India. The letters use a simple method of having the students write letters to Things, Ideas, People and Self (TIPS) to encourage them reflect on their identities, surroundings and global travel. This book serves as an invaluable tool for study abroad programs in helping students critically explore their place in the world.

This book is a great resource by UW faculty member and long-time study abroad Program Director, Dr. Anu Taranath. Through engaging personal travel stories and thought-provoking questions about the ethics and politics of our travel, “Beyond Guilt Trips” shows readers ways to grapple with their discomfort and navigate differences through accountability and connection. Dr. Taranath’s book includes approachable insights and discussion prompts that can help fuel important conversations with your student group before, during and after your program. Consider incorporating her book into your pre-departure orientations and on-site curriculum.

This article highlights the usefulness of student research journals and reflective field exercises in study abroad courses. The author discusses how combining modes of writing provides a venue for negotiating and contextualizing unexpected and uncomfortable encounters in the field and encourages self-reflection for both students and instructors. The author came to several conclusions including the fact that reflexivity must be planned and does not emerge unprompted. This article can be useful for program directors to read when deciding how to incorporate reflexivity into their programs and syllabi.