Africana Studies 499
Our experiences around Paris, France. November 18th to December 3
Enjoying the Sights and Sounds
Recommendation 1: Scheduled Class Time Prior to Trip
Setting expectations and preparing the students for the study abroad experience is a crucial component of the trip. Creating a mandatory in-person class time will ensure that students attend and understand expectations and content while abroad. Covering things like itinerary, behavior, meeting the Sorbonne students, the role of others on the trip (the professor, preceptors, Julia and other presenters, other students), responsibility of course content, etc. will allow you to focus on the sights and visits while abroad instead of continually trying to manage these expectations.
Visiting Historical Landmarks
Recommendation 2: Planned Itinerary
The museums and landmarks that we visiting on the trip were amazing and unique. By far the Eiffel Tower was the most amazing experience in the trip. I would recommended scheduling out the days with a bit more consideration for time management. At times I felt rushed especially trying to get the next place or event. Having a well planned out itinerary taking into consideration the size of the group will help keep everyone on track and maximize the visit experiences. Additionally, purchasing tickets, passes, making reservations ahead of time will help streamline the process. I realize this may not be possible in every situation. In those cases, having the students occupied with other activities will make sure we are utilizing our time wisely.
Recommendation 3: Organize the Meet and Greet with Sorbonne Students
It was a wonderful experience to meet and get to know the Sorbonne students. The "Speed Networking" event was helpful but seemed to rushed for the students. To help facilitate this process I would recommend the following. First, creating class lists for each group will help the students identify each other more easily. This can be in the form of a photo directory with information about each student including major, year in school, etc. Another way to help the students get to know each other is through the Voice Tread. Our first assignment for the Sorbonne class was to create the Voice Tread about ourselves. Having the UA students do this and then sharing it with each group would be beneficial prior to meeting. Second, taking time out to show each class the overlap of what you are teaching then will help to facilitate conversations. Both sets of students can help coach the others on the different technologies that they use. Last, facilitating a more structured interaction would be beneficial. Most of the groups chatted the entire time but determining what they should get out of the experience will assist. A couple of examples would be adding questions the students could as each other and having the students download information sharing apps prior to meeting. This interaction with the Sorbonne students is unique and helping to facilitate a more structured meeting will ensure that the students get to maximize the experience.
Recommendation 4: Course Fee
The biggest recommendation for this trip would be implementing a course fee. This is assessed to the students when they register for the class. You can use this fee to cover all of the expenses for the trip including accommodations, meals, travel, museum entry, etc. This will help beef up the itinerary to include areas the students may not be able to pay for on a one off basis such as the extra expense for Versailles. Additionally, this will elevate additional cost burden on the professor and other planning parties. Implementing a course fee is also beneficial for the student. Instead of coming up with the funds out of pocket, the student can utilize scholarships and financial aid to assist with the cost since it is billed to their bursar account. Additionally, any funds that are not used are refunded to the student after the trip.
The Africana Studies 499 course provides an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students to experience Paris, France. This course is a wonderful way to engage students in the course content and offer a way to learn first-hand about the time and era. Lasting memories will accompany the knowledge the students have of Paris and this time in history.