Have Passport Will Learn: Policy to Pedagogy; Internationalising the Curriculum with Study Abroad Tours

By Zelma Bone, Shevahn Telfser and Peter Mills.

Published by The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education

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Student study tours have long been part of the pedagogy of the agricultural business management course at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Australia. The majority of these tours have been within Australia and concentrated on Australian agricultural practices. The tours reflected the constructivist educational philosophy which purports that students learn best through a process of personal discovery. In recent times this learning has been elevated to a new level with the introduction of study abroad tours. The stimuli for international tours has been twofold: at the macro level, internationalising the curriculum has become a major focus and requirement for Australian universities; and at the micro (subject and course)level, understanding Australian agribusinesses have global links and therefore the need to expose students to that world beyond Australian shores. In addition, there was a perceived need for students to further enhance their professional capabilities (e.g diplomacy, negotiating with people from varying backgrounds, understanding cultural norms) that can only be realised through travelling to and experiencing another country and its culture. The need to internationalise the curriculum is well documented. However, little has been written, in recent times, regarding the soundness or legitimacy of study abroad tours in realising this process in Australian universities. This paper explores the pedagogical soundness of the study abroad tour and its contribution in meeting the policy demands for internationalising the curriculum. The paper reports on a case study of the Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at CSU and its study abroad tour to Argentina.

Keywords: Internationalising Curriculum, Pedagogy, Study Abroad Tours

The International Journal of Learning in Higher Education, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp.85-94. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 650.874KB).

Zelma Bone

Undergraduate Courses Manager and Lecturer, Faculty of Business, Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW, Australia

Zelma has been an academic in the Management discipline in three Australian universities since 1991. Most recently, she has been the Undergraduate Courses Manager for Business programs.Zelma has provided advice and customised training for businesses and public sector agencies in Leadership Development, Communication and Change Management, and People Management. She has completed the University of Missouri Community Academy training course and is qualified to run this course in Australia. She is also experienced in running community forums utilising a deliberative approach to engaging participants and for decision making processes where problems/issues are contentious.

Dr. Shevahn Telfser

Manager, CSU Global, CSU Global, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, NSW, Australia

Shevahn has been a lecturer in Animal Science and management in the Bachelor of Agricultural Management at Charles Sturt University for more than 10 years. During this time she has organised and led many domestic and international student tours. She is currently manager of CSU Global, the department within CSU that has responsibility for all international study abroad tours.

Peter Mills

Lecturer in Horticulture, Faculty of Science, Charles Sturt University, Orange, NSW, Australia

Peter has an extensive history of horticulutural consultancy in many African countries as well as Australia. He is currently a lecturer in Horticulture at Charles Sturt University and is an active member of many Horticultural professional bodies.