Virtual Exchange - Students
Benefits of Virtual Exchange
Cross-Cultural Skills and Awareness: you will have the opportunity to interact with students and professors from around the world, providing you with the chance to learn in new ways. Learn about the culture of those you are working with and become more aware of your own culture as you compare, contrast, and explain differences in thoughts and processes.
Skills for the 21st Century Workplace: the workplace is shifting to become more reliant on technology and a Virtual Exchange provides you with the perfect opportunity to gain more familiarity with collaborating online, developing your communication skills, problem solving cross-culturally, and more. This experience will also give you a specific example to talk about in job interviews when they ask about how you adapt to new situations.
Flexibility and Adaptability: you will be able to gain experience working across cultures and time zones, adapting to different learning environments, and working with individuals whose first language may not be the same as yours, and those who have different perspectives or ways of doing things. Being flexible and adaptable will be important skills to help you succeed in a Virtual Exchange.
How Do I Find Virtual Exchange Opportunities?
COMING SOON! We will add a list of courses offering VE opportunities. Check back for updates.
Once we have a list of courses offering a VE component, you will be able to register for these courses on WebAdvisor like you would for any regular course.
This means that your professor(s) has partnered with someone (it could be a professor at another university, an NGO, an international business, etc.) to offer a collaborative, intercultural experience in your course(s).
In most cases, you will be partnered with students from another university and you will work together to complete a project. You will be graded by your professor and receive a U of G grade on your transcript as usual, but there will be an additional intercultural component included in your course that you can add to your resume and LinkedIn profile.
CIP is developing a micro-certificate that you can complete as part of the Virtual Exchange component of your course. This Micro-Certificate is developed with the help of OpenEd and is recognized by the University of Guelph. In order to earn your micro-cert you will have to complete four short modules that discuss information about stereotypes, biases, cultural awareness, cross-cultural communication, and more.
This badge is something you can add to your resume and your LinkedIn profile to help market your skills to future employers.
While you are collaborating with people from another country, you will remain registered in the U of G course you signed up for and you will be graded by your professor and the criteria they outline for you.
As noted above, there are many benefits to participating in a Virtual Exchange, but there are also some additional challenges you may face. For example:
- Time difference: you may be working with people who live in a different time zone. Therefore, depending on the type of projects your professor has designed you may need to factor in the time difference when organizing meetings with your partners and be flexible.
- Communication: you may be communicating with people who speak a different first language than you. Therefore, patience and adaptability are required.
- Learning Environment: it is important to remember that there may be different learning expectations or norms when working with people from different areas of the world. This is your chance to learn about these differences!
- Cultural Norms: this can relate to what it means to be 'on time' for a scheduled meeting, how you communicate with one another, who will lead the meeting, etc..
- Stereotypes: be aware of any stereotypes or biases you have before you start, and what stereotypes your partners may have of you, and how these may influence your interactions.
Establishing trusting and respectful relationships with your partners will be very helpful. It is normal to notice differences and similarities when working with others, and it is ok to discuss these things if it comes from a place of wanting to understand and work together better.
Resources to Succeed in Virtual Exchange
- Intercultural Competencies Micro-Certificate: more information will be coming soon!
- Course Syllabus: provided by your professor, it should include specific details about the Virtual Exchange component of your course
- Academic Resources - U of G resources offered on campus
- Troubleshooting Technology for Virtual Exchange Toolkit (pg. 6 & 7)