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SARA Learning Activities

Academic Activities 

The database can be used as a resource for the production of more typically academic activities, such as essays and presentations.  These stimulate prolonged reflection on a specific topic, and develop students' research and synthesis skills.  This type of activity complements the more active, discussion-based classroom activities.  It can be particularly useful in a setting in which traditional forms of assessment are required.

Students are given a selection of essay topics which can be researched using the database.  For example:

    • How do students' expectations about the country to which they are going affect their interactions when they arrive?
    • What successful strategies for meeting people and maintaining relationships have been reported by students living in the same context as you?
    • Compare some of the positive and negative intercultural experiences reported in the database.  What factors appear to lead to positive or negative experiences?
    • What factors do students report as causing difficulties in linguistic communication, and how do they overcome these?
    • What stereotypes do students have about the host culture?  What effects do these stereotypes appear to have on their experiences?
These can be addressed in written form and / or as a presentation to the group.  It should be stressed that there are no 'right' answers to these questions.  Essays and presentations should draw on the database for evidence, but students are not being asked to produce definitive answers, rather to demonstrate that they have researched the database and reflected on the responses which they have found in it.

Outgoing students can write essays based purely on researching the database.  Returnee students can write more personal accounts which bring together researching the database with analysis of their own experiences, perhaps using the reflection on experience exercise as a lead-in.