Learning to Unlearn: Transformative Education in the City
Keywords:Cities, Urban centers, International Education, Study abroad
For millennia, cities have been an integral part of human life. Today, with more than half the world’s population living in cities, they are at the core of survival on, and of, this planet. Urban centers are not simply the scenery for study abroad; the International Honors Program (IHP) embraces the consequential role of cities in the world as the thematic heart of our study abroad program, Cities in the 21stCentury. In this article, we discuss the content that is available when the city becomes the classroom. It is through a process of sustained observation, engagement, and critical thinking that students are empowered to question their assumptions, to cross social and physical boundaries, and to understand how cities work in practice. The IHP Cities in the 21stCentury program explores the heart of how cities work, and thus how students in their personal and professional lives can influence the future of cities. The article describes the current form of the program, analyzes the methods that we use, and suggests how the intercultural context and interdisciplinary nature of this experience can be adapted to other models of international education.
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