ISA Discovery Model and Bridging Cultures Program
The Bridging Cultures Program
The Bridging Cultures Program (BCP) encompasses the ISA on-site orientation delivered to all students in the first days of their ISA program, with key improvements in areas related to goal setting, intercultural awareness, diversity and professional development. For a number of reasons, the first days that follow a students arrival on site offer us some of the best opportunities to effectively transmit information to program participants. While the pre-departure orientations that students receive from ISA and their home universities are also important, students are typically more ready to focus on their study abroad experience when they arrive at their host country. The BCP is designed to help ISA make the most of this important opportunity to educate students, and to give students the tools that will facilitate discovery and learning during their program. The BCP is an important introduction to a new culture, a new home and a new experience. The BCP is designed to prepare students for a successful, positive and rewarding experience that will influence the rest of their lives.
ISA Discovery Model
A primary objective of all ISA programs is to facilitate the learning and development of students. We rely on host universities to provide quality instruction in the classroom, but ISA is the main facilitator of learning outside of the classroom. Our efforts to promote student learning are shaped by an educational framework we call the ISA Discovery Model. According to this model, student learning and development is organized into five areas of discovery: Intercultural, Historical, Sociopolitical, Professional and Environmental. Throughout the duration of all ISA programs, we provide participants opportunities to pursue guided learning in these five areas of discovery through participation in ISA excursions, cultural activities and community involvement.
To find out how our students are using the Discovery Model to explore their surroundings and contextualize their learning, please visit the "Discover with Us" section of the ISA Student Blog.
ISA aims to increase student intercultural competence in cross-cultural settings.
ISA encourages our students to have an appreciation of their host country's history, architecture, and "Culture." Historical discovery involves education in the rich history of art, architecture, language, music, theatre and dance, and the development within, and influence on, the local and global community. We facilitate this area of discovery by visiting museums, touring monuments, and attending performances.
ISA programs intend for students to be well-informed about the sociopolitical reality of their program location. We strive to educate students so they can intelligently discuss important contemporary events. ISA wants students to articulate how current events impact host country nationals' views of domestic and U.S. government policies, along with identifying the main domestic media channels and how they align politically and ideologically.
ISA empowers students to use their time abroad as a means to explore their professional and career goals. Students receive the Professional Development Toolbox as a resource prior to departure, during their time abroad and after returning from their program. Our mission is to enable students to intelligently leverage their study, internship or service-learning abroad experience when pursuing post-graduate careers or continuing education.
ISA provides opportunities for students to visit some of their host country's incredible environmental wonders, as this gives students an appreciation of, and connection with, the natural ecology of the regions in which they are living. We have found that by developing an understanding of their local environment, students feel more comfortable, safe and healthy during their program.