Transforming the international learning experience for students: Moving beyond the principle of accompaniment

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Abstract

Evidence exists that international learning experiences provide undergraduate and graduate students with opportunities to develop intercultural competence and global perspectives. This development is grounded in the idea of accompaniment that is prevalent in study abroad programs and international service experiences at the higher education level. Accompaniment is firmly planted in the idea of mutual relationships and sharing culture. However, it only creates a superficial understanding of the community and fails to address and implement systems of sustainable practice. This theoretical supposition challenges educators to go beyond the foundation of accompaniment and explore innovative practice that can benefit the development of intercultural competence in students and promote sustainability in the international contexts that these academic-based international service programs work with. The authors detail suggestions that educators can use as a framework for transforming international service experiences, their students, and the communities they serve.

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