International Field Experience

Explore, study, and apply academic content in a purposeful way outside the classroom through short-term field trips and/or field-work (less than 20 hours) or intensive and immersive long-term field-work (21+ hours) outside of Canada.

International Field Experiences at Brock

Consider these examples of international field experiences designed by faculty and instructors at Brock.

Instructor: Dr. Michael O’Sullivan, Associate Professor

Course:

  • Undergraduate: EDUC 4P36 – Global Education: Field Experience
  • Graduate: EDUC 5P98 – Independent Study in Education

Program: Education

EXPLORING GUATEMALAN INDIGENOUS EDUCATION & CULTURE: EXPERIENCING MAYAN COMMUNITIES

Dr. O’Sullivan’s course examines a number of issues that are simultaneously local and global.  Students learn from Maya indigenous communities about their struggles to reclaim their culture after 500 years of colonialism and 36 years of genocidal civil war which destroyed entire indigenous regions of the country.  As part of the week-long international field experience to Guatemala, Dr. O’Sullivan’s students toured the Peace Park, the site of a 1990 massacre, attended music and cultural performances, visited Mayan co-operatives that produce chocolate and craft itesm and participated in a traditional Mayan smoke ceremony. Students also experienced Mayan home life with their host families in the village of Tzalb´al and visited to an elementary school, where they were able engage with local children and observe classroom management practices.

“We learned the history and the challenges, struggles, violence and everything that they’ve experienced up until this point,” said Jenny Korkes, a graduate student who participated in the course. “Learning all of that and then going to see how strong and hopeful they still are, it’s inspiring. But it also makes everything real. These people went through all of these things and they’re still here.”

The trip also highlighted the value of experiential education, an important learning opportunity for Education students and future teachers. “I already knew that experiential education was a beneficial thing,” says Olivia Belmonte, a fourth-year Concurrent Education. “I think this just really emphasized how important it is because it was not only an experiential learning opportunity for myself going into this culture, but I also got to see how experiential learning happened within their culture.”

For Dr. O’Sullivan, the immersive learning experienced by students on the trip cannot be replicated in the classroom. “The learning they soaked in will impact their future teaching practice and will influence their thinking, not just for the duration of the course, but for years to come.”