Study Abroad and the City: Mapping Urban Histories
Keywords:Course-related study excursions, Study abroad, Sites for learning, Study abroad cities, Community identities, Urban spaces, LGBT communities, Paris, Urban landscape
The accumulation by study abroad students of course-related onsite study excursions to museums, historical sites and celebrated buildings no doubt results in meaningful learning experiences. However, to make study abroad cities truly effective as sites for learning, educators must employ a well-conceived and theoretically-grounded approach that emphasizes the geographical, historical, and cultural formation of community identities linked to related urban spaces. Using a case study designed to analyze urban landscapes of LGBT communities in Paris, this article shows how mapping can be employed to use the city as a laboratory for intercultural learning, identity formation, and tolerance of diversity. This approach is based on best practices in experiential learning set forth by the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE). Examples of exercises and templates for onsite study are included.
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