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Cougs overcome a major study abroad obstacle: Travel

As with what seems like everything else in the age of COVID-19, study abroad from Washington State University is going virtual.

Huh?

You read it right! For the stateside-bound, Global Learning in WSU’s Office of International Programs has turned to gamification to amplify psychological and social competencies typically strengthened by learning abroad. The result? Six Global Cougs digital badges that address six core international values: global self-awareness, perspective taking, cultural diversity, personal and social responsibility, understanding global systems and knowledge application.

Students who opt for a virtual study or internship abroad experience in fall or winter 2020 as well as students who do not may enroll in the badge program. The program includes a questionnaire to establish the student’s baseline global competencies, a menu of relevant learning experiences that have been curated for each value, and a post-assessment to gauge growth. To earn a badge, the student must engage in three elective experiences related to the badge’s competency and provide a written reflection on the experiences. Each person’s journey will be tracked and validated by Global Learning.

The badges demonstrate the student’s skills and qualifications beyond a diploma or certificate and can be used to signify professional bona fides in a resume or LinkedIn profile, for example. Global Learning will also verify students’ badges with employers, colleges, institutions, and individuals.

Until travel outside the U.S. opens up again, the badges are a no-cost alternative to the impossibility of “going there.” The Global Cougs digital badge program will remain available once travel is allowed, providing a viable option to students who want to hone their global competencies without the costs and commitments associated with studying abroad.

Contact: Jacob Babb, jacob.babb@wsu.edu

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