Cultural Immersion Opportunities

The M.Ed. in Higher Education program places an emphasis on cultural diversity and the growing internationalization of our local, state, national and global societies.  To this end, Grand Valley and faculty in the M.Ed. in Higher Education program encourage students to seek out opportunities which will help them develop competence in this critically important area.

Two aspects of the academic program that can help students achieve this is through their practica experience and/or through one of our on-going study abroad opportunities.  

Study Abroad:

Since 1999, the M.Ed. in Higher Education program has offered a 3 credit, elective opportunity to study abroad or study away.  From 1999 to 2010, we partnered with the Universidad de las Americas in Puebla Mexico offering a two week immersion experience focused on Mexican Culture, higher education, and student affairs.  The program also emphasized a service learning component.

In 2012 a pilot program in Kingston Jamaica was coordinated in conjunction with the University of West Indies and in 2014 a similar “study away” experience will be offered in Atlanta Georgia with a focus on Minority Serving Institutions through a partnership with Morehouse and Spellman Universities.

Based on cost and interest, one of these programs will be offered each year with hope of alternating programs.

Minority Serving Institutions: History, Culture & Student Affairs - Domestic Study Abroad

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This program is designed to take students to Atlanta, GA. Students will spend a majority of the time visiting and learning about Historically Black Colleges Universities (HBCUs). The course also highlights Tribal, Hispanic-Serving, and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions.

Students will be exposed to HBCU culture, history, and student affairs. The trip may include visits to—and guest lectures from faculty, staff, and administrators at—Spelman College, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, or Morris Brown College. Students will be immersed in service learning experiences benefiting an HBCU or the Greater Atlanta community, and will be challenged to reflect on this experience in the context of student affairs and higher education. 

Jamaican Culture & Education

This Program is designed to take graduate students in the College Student Affairs Leadership program as well as graduate students in the Adult & Higher Education program to the University of the West Indies (UWI) in Mona, Jamaica. Students will spend a majority of the time at the University’s Mona campus and at least two other branches (Montego Bay and Kingston) in the 14-campus system, learning about international higher education, especially in a multi-country regional campus.

The trip will also include visits to Seaford Town Technical College and the College of Agriculture and Science Education. Students will be exposed to the Caribbean higher educational system, people and culture, economic climate, history, and the struggles of a developing country. Students will be immersed in service learning experiences benefiting a Jamaican educational institution, and will be challenged to reflect on this experience as well the trip as a whole. 

Practica/Internships:

Students enrolled in the College Student Affairs Leadership program are required to complete two 150 practica experiences which could also be potentially completed in international settings.  Students work with faculty and staff in the Padnos International Center to arrange for an international practicum experience.  Limited opportunities are available for students to apply to serve as assistant directors of faculty led study abroad programs.

Other international opportunities:

Two other programs, SW 630 Global Service Learning (El Salvador) and EDF 672 Social and Cultural Foundations (Dominican Republic) may also of interest to CSAL students.