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Global understanding classes allow students to have a multicultural experience without having to travel.

A deep dive into ECU’s Global Understanding Virtual Exchange Experiences

Most of us have probably considered studying abroad at least once or twice over our college years but have opted out of going because it can be a very long way from home. Studying abroad is an excellent opportunity if you can swing it or handle being far from home. But for those of us who tend to get homesick just being a few hours away, studying abroad isn’t so easy to say yes to. Lucky for you, ECU offers Virtual Exchange Courses.

So what is a virtual exchange course? These classes incorporate meetings with three partner institutions around the world! Students will complete bi-weekly video calls, discussions, chats and projects with their peers here at ECU as well as the international students. Classes spend around four or five weeks working with each partner school throughout the semester. These classes are crafted to give you a multicultural experience from a comfortable place.

These classes are offered through nine departments here on campus: Anthropology, Communication, Ethnic Studies, English, Foreign Language, Hospitality Management and Tourism, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology. When these classes are completed, they will count for the Global Diversity or Humanities required for our gen eds! While they may not fit exactly into your specific degree path, they can help you round out your gen eds and have a great experience at the same time!

There are many cool things about these courses; one of them (to me, at least) is the numbers. We partner with over 40 institutions in 25 different countries. About 2,000 students participate in Global Understanding Virtual Exchange Courses each year (500 ECU students, 1,500 international). ECU has also received many awards and recognitions through this experience, most recently the UISFL Program Grant in 2018.

If you’re still here, you’re more than likely interested in taking a class like this. Unfortunately, it is too soon for me to say what classes will be offered in Spring 2022, but I can give you some idea of what may be to come with a look at the courses taking place this Fall! These classes included ANTH 1050, COMM 1050, ENGL 1000, ETHN 2001, GLST 1060, HMGT 3200, HNRS 2011, PSYC 1070, SOCI 1050, MGMT 4952 and GEOG 2300. I know that list is a lot to look at, but at the same time, just look at how many different options you have! It would be a great idea to look into each of these courses to understand better what all the courses entail if this is something you are considering.

Studying abroad gives us a more expansive cultural experience and allows us to be more open to learning about others, but it certainly isn’t for everyone (myself included). Many of us want to be able to explore the world and stay close to home, and these courses are the perfect solution for just that. You could also take these courses to build your intercultural confidence before deciding to go abroad because it can be scary not knowing about a different way of living. Regardless of the situation, these classes look like a lot of fun and are surely worth checking out for future semesters!

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