This gateway to Community-Based Transformational Learning (CBTL) drops students in authentic and profound foreign settings with the intent of helping them gain a deeper understanding of themselves and a very different culture. Most immersion programs offer an Orientation & Education phase as well as a Service phase to the experience. The Orientation & Education phase provides students insight about their new cultural environment, while the Service phase encourages them to interact with the culture. By living as a member of the community, participating in experiential learning activities, and engaging with the local culture, students develop a sense of appreciation and empathy for different cultures.
What makes immersion experiences unique?
- The purpose is generally to expose students to a very different culture in an effort to build empathy and appreciation for different cultures
- These experiences rarely require that students have any previous experience with the culture or increased expertise with content knowledge and skills of the discipline
- Immersions usually last for a minimum of 15-30 hours in a relatively short period of time
- Interaction with the community is typically more concentrated and personal than with other CBTL experiences
- Immersion experiences frequently include an Orientation & Education phase for building cultural context before the Service phase
- Most faculty find that immersion experiences require multiple opportunities for reflection (including pre-flection) for students to adequately process their experience
What are some of the common forms of community-based immersion experiences?
- Alternative breaks
- Study abroad service trips
- Urban plunges
- Home stays
I want to create my own immersion experience. Where can I find support?
There are several offices and departments at UNF to assist you in developing and implementing specific aspects of your community-based immersion program including: