Helena Kaufman, Director of Off-Campus Studies, and Éva Pósfay, Professor of French, presented "De-Familiarizing Europe: Study Curriculum for the Flat World," with colleagues from Paris and Copenhagen, at the December Forum on Education Abroad meeting in Dublin, Ireland. The session focused on program design in the dynamically changing European context. The panelists, representing U.S. colleges and European study abroad organizations, shared best practices in holistic design of curriculum that situates in national, regional, and European contexts but also de-familiarizes Europe as a destination.
Every year, Europe continues to be the top study abroad destination for American students. The panelists discussed the importance of encouraging students to explore less common destinations, but also acknowledging that Europe-as-destination is not always familiar, predictable, or restricted to the historical perspectives. They analyzed what the principal axes along which to construct a European identity today was and looked at how to design a course of study that gets below the stereotypes. Finally, they questioned: How can European programs engage complex regional realities while also emphasizing Europe’s role in addressing global issues, such as immigration, health, social justice, sustainability, identity, religion, and culture?