Centenary students undertake cultural immersion and/or intensive study of another culture differing from US mainstream culture with the goal of developing competencies and attitudes critical to global citizenship. Options include semester or academic year exchange programs, ‘module’ courses (typically offered during May or August terms), independent projects, or external programs.
Faculty may submit a Trek Course Proposal form for a new or existing course to receive Culture credit. For additional guidance on “module” planning, please contact the Assistant Dean of Global Engagement.
Culture course proposals should include:
- Course approval from the instructor’s department chair and APC; Please note that all faculty-led study-away experiences must have a full-time faculty member from an academic department as a primary instructor unless approval is granted by the Provost.
- The course syllabus with course objectives, requirements, assignments, and an explanation of intentional cultural preparation and exploration;
- A time audit outlining 45 hours of academic work, 25 hours minimum of which must be in direct contact with or in-depth study of the target culture and/or 14 days of an immersive experience;
- Inclusion of a Pre-Departure Session coordinated by the Office of Global Engagement;
- Clearly articulated plan submitted to the Office of Global Engagement for actions to take in the event of delayed returns due to COVID-19;
- Clear plans for the completion of both Culture Assessment subsections (Self-Assessment and Written Responses).
Additional planning considerations should clearly include:
- Destination risk levels;
- Feasibility of participation for students with dietary or physical limitations;
- Break-even enrollment requirements based on proposed budget;
- Coordination of a second named Responsible Adult – this may be a co-instructor or an additional adult traveler;
- Teaching load and compensation
a. Any eligible travel stipend (e.g., international) to be included in budget and cost planning;
b. 15% additional stipend + salary costs (if applicable) to be included in budget and cost planning;
c. In-load teaching availability or, alternatively
d. Faculty salary costs to be included in the budget and cost planning;
Culture assessments should be submitted to the Assistant Dean of Global Engagement within one (2) weeks of completion of the experiential learning period.
* Module-specific guidance is found in the Module section below.
All students complete the Culture Self-Assessment Form during pre-departure/project orientation with the Office of Global Engagement and must also submit a follow-up Culture Self-Assessment Form to the course leader or to the Office of Global Engagement upon program completion.
Student learning is assessed directly by the course leader upon completion of the program or course based upon the AAC&U Intercultural Knowledge and Competence VALUE rubric. Evaluations, including the primary coursework relevant to each learning outcome, are returned to the Trek Committee. Review of assessment materials may be randomized or include all participant submissions, at the discretion of the Committee.
Each outcome is scored on the following scale..
- 0 No Competence
- 1 (LEAP benchmark 1) ELEMENTARY
- 2 (LEAP milestone 2) DEVELOPMENTAL
- 3 (LEAP milestone 3) PROFICIENT
- 4 (LEAP Capstone 4) EXEMPLARY
Student Self Assessment
(Curiosity and Openness)
|• I am interested in and seek out international news, media, and entertainment and/or items from other fields than my own major area of study.
• I find it easy to establish a global connection with those who are from a culture different from my own.
• I am mindful of how my personal life choices might make a global impact.
(Cultural Self-Awareness, Knowledge of Cultural Worldview Frameworks, Empathy)
|• Discussing characteristics common to a particular culture is different from stereotyping.
• As a part of this experience, I have intentionally taken opportunities to get to understand people from other cultures or to understand another non-human culture.
• When I am exposed to new cultures (including animal culture), I find it helpful to have an understanding of behavior norms and historical background.
(Cultural Self-Awareness, Knowledge of Cultural Worldview Frameworks, Empathy)
|• I think of myself as firmly belonging to a particular culture.
• I have been in situations where I felt like a cultural outsider.
• My perspectives may not be shared by people of other cultures.
(Verbal and Non-verbal Communication)
|• It is polite to slow your speaking or communication pace when talking to someone who is learning English or another communication form.
• Non-verbal communication styles (gestures, body language, etc.) are pretty much the same across human (and primate) cultures.
• I adjust my communication style based on groups/individuals with whom I am speaking or communicating.
Writing prompts (3+ chosen by student)
- Define the concept of ‘global citizenship’? Do you consider yourself to be a global citizen? Why or why not?
- Describe three (3) characteristics of [one of] the target culture group[s] that you personally encountered during this class experience. Please include the context of the encounter with your brief description.
- If someone from the target culture you encountered during this class experience came to visit you in your home culture, how would you describe your home culture?
- Describe a communication event during this class experience with a person (or primate) from a culture other than your own. How did you feel during this encounter? What went well? How could it have been more successful?
- What did you learn about yourself, or did any of your behaviors or attitudes change during this class experience? If so, how and why? And if not, what did you come to be more aware of and more comfortable with about yourself or others?
- Describe one (1) activity, event, or interaction that occurred during this class experience that highlights differences in communication between your home and your host culture (including primate culture). How did you behave, and would you behave the same if in the same situation again?
- What are three (3) questions you asked (or wish you had asked) to help you learn more about your host culture? What context created those questions in your mind?
Faculty should expect that written responses are thoughtfully composed in full narrative form of no more than 300 words each, unless otherwise directed.
INTERCULTURAL COMMUNICATION (CDS 292) – 4 credit hours
Course Description: Life in a global society requires a clear understanding of the interactions between culture and communication. This course will facilitate the development of knowledge and skills necessary to the development of intercultural competence and will create opportunities to evaluate how one’s own cultural identity influences communication with others. The ability to value, respect and learn from diverse cultures races, ages, genders, sexual orientations, and religions is critical for daily interactions and career readiness. Cultural intelligence underpins our ability to interact effectively across cultures, and this class aims to provide understanding and mindful skills to navigate the wide variety of cultural intersections we expect in life. Through lectures, class discussions, interactive activities, and case studies, this class allows students to apply personal knowledge and skills in preparation for a variety of communication contexts. A final presentation of a unique communication topic will be peer reviewed.
- To understand the importance of cultural awareness in communication.
- To demonstrate cultural self-awareness and develop skills to adapt communication in context.
- To facilitate the development of visual and cultural intelligence.
- To enhance personal facility in verbal and non-verbal communication.
- To encourage the ongoing development of intercultural fluency through openness and curiosity.
STUDY ABROAD (Trek 300) – 0 credit hours
Students may study, intern, or volunteer
a. Via official Centenary College of Louisiana international exchange partner universities or programs for a semester or a full academic year;
Students participating in a Centenary exchange program dual-enroll at Centenary and at the partner institution abroad, simplifying the admission, scholarship, and credit transfer processes. Exchange program participants (other than the Up with People program) pay tuition as normal to Centenary and coordinate costs of room, board, and other fees either with the host institution or independently in the host city/ies;
b. Via the official Centenary College of Louisiana Washington Semester partnership through The American University, as long as the primary component of any internship occurs with an international institution or government entity over the course of the semester;
c. Via the Up with People immersion partnership. Students participating in the Up with People immersion program enroll in 12 academic credit hours during the program. Fees payable to Centenary are:
a module fee of $2000
room, board, and travel fees (equal to the Up with People rate for the relevant semester).
d. Via a pre-approved international summer program for internship, volunteering, or study; or
e. Via a pre-approved international semester or year-long program, during which the student takes a leave of absence from Centenary College of Louisiana. Students participating in non-exchange semester or academic-year programs request a Leave of Absence from Centenary’s Office of the Registrar during the period of external study.
INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE (TREK 351) – 0 credit hours
Advanced Language Study
Culture credit is awarded to students who successfully complete two courses in the same language at >300 level. Credit will only be awarded if a grade of ≥C or the equivalent is achieved in each class.
In these courses, it is expected that students are provided with knowledge of language and cultures which will be useful practically, intellectually, and professionally. Students are equipped with the ability to understand, speak, read, and write the language. To this end, the target language is used extensively, in some cases exclusively, in the classroom.
Module (CDS 292) – 4 credit hours
Students may enroll in an approved immersion course CDS 292 (i.e., “Module” or a class offered alongside International Choir Tours) to receive culture credit. Most “Module” options occur in the May term, and the list of available options (which changes from year to year) is typically available from October each Fall. Students are allocated into “Modules” based on a preference process.
Course Description in Catalogue: A variety of short, intensive faculty-led courses typically offered each May or August, explore topics of general or specialized interest not normally offered. These cultural immersion courses allow students to spend 14 days, or 45 academic contact hours, engaged with the target culture. “Module” courses are available with or without a travel component, and students may use Passport Points towards costs in prescribed maximum amounts depending on the destination. These courses sometimes opt to fulfill the Culture or Community requirement of Trek; however, these courses are not required to contain a Trek component. Module/immersion courses may be applied towards the hours required for graduation.
INTERCULTURAL EXPERIENCE (TREK 351) – 0 credit hours
To earn independent credit, students work with a faculty or Trek staff member and submit an Independent Project Proposal Form to the Trek Committee by the corresponding deadline.
Students may undertake an independent project to:
a. study an international culture (other than one’s native culture, except in exceptional circumstances);
b. study a culturally distinct culture group within the US (e.g., faith or indigenous communities) which have substantially different regulations, norms, and ways of life than mainstream US culture; or
c. study a subcultural group within the US who are considered part of mainstream US culture but differ significantly from the mainstream cultural experience (i.e., ethnic, racial, class, sexual identities, etc.).
- Students pursuing an independent project must:
- submit an Independent Proposal Form clearly demonstrating how they will both explore and analyze the differences between these groups, as well as how the target group is interrelated and intertwined with others as well as their own group. The goal is to develop understanding of how this subcultural group is distinct and yet functions in relation to dominant US culture.
- create their own syllabus and itinerary, including but not limited to the following minimum requirements:
- clearly articulated description of the target culture and how it differs from the student’s own;
- clearly articulated explanation of why the culture was selected (i.e., why is it important to the student?)
- clearly articulated specific learning objectives and outcomes (e.g., knowledge, personal gratification, or perspective);
- specific location and travel information (if relevant) for intended culture of study (international destinations are limited to Level 1 or Level 2 of the US Department of State Travel Advisories ranking. Level 3 or 4 destinations will be rejected by the Trek Committee.)
- a time audit or schedule proposal outlining
- interactions with a living culture for a minimum of 14 days internationally (travel time included), or
- completion of at least 45 hours of study and interaction domestically (at least 25 hours must be demonstrated to be direct interaction with members of the target culture);
- a substantial list of required readings and other resources that the student will use in cultural analysis;
- specific activities and engagement with the target culture (e.g., interviews, language study, other interactions)
- description of a specific reflection project for submission to the supervising faculty or Trek Committee (e.g., a research paper or presentation)
Students should work with a faculty member and the Assistant Dean of Global Engagement to ensure that the proposal achieves an appropriate level of academic rigor.
International students (and US citizens previously resident abroad)
Degree-seeking students who have lived abroad for a period of time greater than or equal to one (1) year and within the previous (6) years before attending Centenary (i.e., F-1 visa holders, H-4 visa holders, or US citizens resident abroad) may petition to undertake an independent reflection project based on their cultural experience coming to Centenary College of Louisiana. This should begin as early as possible upon commencing studies at Centenary (i.e., before their final academic year).
Eligible students should work with their academic advisor and the Director of Intercultural Engagement to ensure that the proposal meets an appropriate level of academic rigor. Final approval will be granted by the Trek Committee.
Students who are military or former military personnel and who have lived abroad for a period of time greater than or equal to one (1) year and within the previous (6) years before attending Centenary may petition to undertake a qualitative analysis of the cultural re-entry process as a qualifying Culture experience. Petitions will be considered by the Trek Committee if the petitioner demonstrates a strong understanding of cross-cultural competency concepts and research, including but not limited to:
- Cultural self-awareness
- Knowledge of cultural worldview frameworks
- Cross-cultural interpersonal and communication skills.
Military and former military students should work with their academic advisor and the Director of Intercultural Engagement to ensure that the proposal achieves an appropriate level of academic rigor. Final approval will be granted by the Trek Committee.
Culture Component Funding Opportunities
Students may earn Passport Points by attending specific campus-based events. Each student is eligible to earn up to 500 points per semester, up to a maximum of 2000 points. Each point is worth $1 USD. Points are non-transferrable and expire upon student graduation. Earned Passport Points may be applied to:
- any international programs up to 2000 points (equivalent to $2000)
- local and domestic culture programs at a reduced rate (100 points for local and 500 for domestic US-based programs).
Passport Points may be used towards more than one (1) program.
FINANCIAL AID & SCHOLARSHIPS
Students must have a 2.75 GPA or higher to be considered for institutional support for partner and College programs abroad.
All participants work closely with the Financial Aid Office and the Office of Intercultural Engagement to determine how their period abroad may affect scholarships and financial support, and for support in locating and applying for additional external funding and scholarships.