The applied learning setting, frequently outside the traditional classroom, challenges students to integrate and to apply that knowledge to broader, real-world situations. Study abroad is the ultimate applied learning setting. Eating weird food; being plunged into a different time zone; figuring out the metro system; hearing a foreign language 24 hours a day; adjusting to the non-student-centered classroom; debating the merits of U.S. foreign policy; learning that a perfectly-acceptable hand gesture here might get you into trouble there; and accepting the fact that common practice is to begin your 1:00 appointment at 1:45; are all applied learning experiences that nurture patience, flexibility, independent decision-making, perseverance, acceptance of diversity, and diplomacy.In addition to all of these “soft,” transferable, skills, some very practical discipline-specific lessons are taught to UNCW students who participate in any one of our 500 programs abroad. For example, future nurses provide care to rural and urban populations and learn about the health care systems in El Salvador and Guatemala. Gaining an appreciation for realities such as the tensions between traditional and western medicine, the role played by religion or family dynamics in health practices, and how poverty prevents access to health care, produces compassionate, informed, and effective caregivers.
Anthropology students in Belize apply the scientific method they have learned in the classroom to real field settings. Students work on research questions in areas where they have limited time and resources. The class stresses the development of a project, data collection and analysis all enveloped in the environment of “one shot” availability, common to on-site research. These are just two examples of the world of applied learning opportunities abroad that await students. Programs can tailor-fit participants’ academic disciplines, pastimes, and pocketbook. There is a global applied learning experience for you.