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Program Guidelines

The following steps are part of the Global Learning Term (GLT) process:

1. Pre-field preparation seminar

Taking responsibility for potential social impacts begins prior to departure. The Global Learning Term aims to send students who are ready, both intellectually and interculturally, to interact with residents abroad in an informed and respectful manner. GLT students are required to complete a semester-long, pre-field preparation course, GLBL 305 Peoples and Places.

2. Domestic field learning

Social responsibility challenges our natural impulse to suppose that our hosts abroad are either just like ourselves or somehow inferior to ourselves and in need of being “helped” or, alternately, to “bracket off” peoples and problems abroad from similar realities at home. Though not a prerequisite to participating in the Global Learning Term, most Global Studies students complete a semester-long field study and service program in a multicultural domestic setting (the Los Angeles Term) prior to journeying abroad. The domestic learning experience introduces students to issues of power and privilege (related to race, social class, gender, and nationality). This “inner work” is critical to fostering the kind of intercultural humility that allows students to form socially equitable relationships abroad, and to effectively explore similar issues across national contexts.

3. Minimum length of term

Spending an extended period of time abroad allows students to more fully integrate into their host community and achieve greater “sustainability” in terms of the educational, social equity, and economic benefits. A longer term is also necessary to acquire basic language and culture skills, to build self-sustaining relationships with local residents, and to acquire an in-depth awareness of community needs. Global Learning Term encourages a six-to seven-month residence abroad. The minimum expectation is four months of sustained residence within a single host community.

4. Travel to destination site

When possible, students are encouraged to travel by bus or train to their field destination, thus reducing their carbon emissions by three to seven times over taking an airplane. When that is not an option, students are urged to fly “economy” instead of “business” class. Business seats require more space than economy seats, and less leg room means room for more people. That means fewer carbon emissions per person.

5. Purchase of carbon offsets

To make up for the carbon dioxide that the international travel creates, voluntary offset companies like Terra Pass have begun to offer organizations and individuals the opportunity to reduce their impact on global warming by purchasing “carbon offsets” as a voluntary surcharge for flights. The money the offset company receives helps fund green projects (like tree planting, solar energy, landfill gas capture, and wind farms) to balance out the environmental impact of airborne journeys. Essentially, carbon offsets are credits you purchase to apply to the emissions you put into the environment.

Global Learning Term requires students to provide evidence of having purchased a carbon offset for all program-related air travel.