Rapid advances in technology, environment and social integration call for fresh innovation in considering the educational and professional needs of tomorrow’s leaders. How do you effectively educate and prepare students for technology and knowledge that has not yet been invented, but can be expected in their lifetime? Changes in classrooms are already occurring, as personalized learning and “phenomenon-based” teaching methods take an interdisciplinary approach, focusing on connections with real-world issues, relationship building, and the development of student autonomy. Specialized internship providers are following suit, offering reflective learning frameworks for international programs that are designed to stimulate cross-cultural intelligence, engagement and initiative.
Intern Abroad HQ offers programs based on experiential learning theory, which encompass student-generated goals, meaning-making (through structured critical reflection), communication skills, job search readiness (resume provision, interview practice) and the iterative process of “learning by doing”. Programs offer practical insight into a field of interest, study or vocation on an international volunteer program. The opportunities allow program participants to apply classroom learning within real-world contexts. There are no long-term duration requirements (such as 6 - 12 months) and flexible start dates are not bound to academic calendars.
Why does this approach matter, what do students and communities get out of it, and how’s it supposed to help? Physicist Michio Kaku recognizes that we’re on the cusp of a new era - where knowledge doubles every decade, computer power doubles every 18 months and the internet doubles every year. So how can anyone possibly keep up? What challenges exist for those trying to remain abreast, relevant and competitive within their careers? The ability to learn, communicate, and establish meaningful relationships with others is crucial. This is why Intern Abroad HQ combines international voluntary service with the reflective learning approach. Interns accelerate their own learning through first-hand experience and practice, become better informed of global issues, collaborate with local stakeholders from a foreign perspective, and consciously track their changes in mind-set.
The adage goes that teachers affect eternity, because you can never tell where the influence stops. However, this is only true if learners are equipped with the ability to approach learning as a lifelong journey, understanding that learning must go hand-in-hand with transformative re-learning. This is the philosophy of reflection-based internships, which combine relevant career-experience with a constant invitation to question, reflect, problem solve and modify - an invaluable return on investment and the “must have” attitude for global citizens of the future.