HOW TO BEST PREPARE FOR THE YEAR ABROAD AND HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THIS EXPERIENCE: A PILOT PROJECT MEET (MAXIMIZE THE ERASMUS EXPERIENCE TOGETHER)
Dublin Institute of Technology (IRELAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:The year abroad seems to be a daunting experience for most students. In our School, DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology), our students are required to spend a compulsory 3rd year abroad on study and/or work placements. Thinking about how to make this experience as productive and rewarding as possible. In order to do that, we started a pilot project called MEET: Maximise the Erasmus Experience Together, focuses on the students’ own active engagement in learning and preparation – outside of the classroom –and their own self-directed pursuit of opportunities to develop their confidence and preparedness, which would work as an important foundation for the transformative learning that study abroad implies. The plan was to create more structured opportunities where Erasmus students from our partner universities (currently studying at DIT) and our second-year students could interact and learn from each other, and in so doing improve both their language and intercultural skills. Students could also enroll in an extra curriculum module of self development to reflect on the work involved in our pilot project. Looking back at this year experience, we can say that all and all it has been given very positive outcomes for the students in terms of their language development as well as their personal development as autonomous individuals. After analyzing the interviews with those involved we have learnt what has worked and most importantly, how to improve this project for this coming year. We would like to share with you our experience and plans for the near future.
Keywords: Intercultural competence, Linguistic Competence, Year Abroad, Extra curriculum activities.