On April 24, the Alexandria Campus International Studies Committee sponsored a student forum called “Reflections on Intercultural Education.” During the forum, students from the Community College Initiative described their experiences as foreign students studying abroad in the United States.
Spanish instructor Andrew Bowen moderated the panel discussion. Students reflected on topics ranging from differences in the U.S. education system from their home institutions; surprises, challenges and rewards of living in a different culture; expectations of how their experiences in the U.S. will shape their future endeavors and how studying abroad provided a positive and constructive addition to their educational paths.
The panel also took questions from the audience on various aspects of studying abroad and the opportunities presented by experiencing a new culture. The study abroad students discovered several surprises about the U.S., such as not all Americans have guns, Americans stop at traffic signals even if there is no opposing traffic and walking can be lonely since almost everyone here drives. The discussion was certainly eye opening.
Refreshments were provided by Student Services and several student clubs also participated.