Gjertrud Stordal from QMUC and Amanda Lee from STADIO is managing the InternAbroad project.
The two learning institutions have a longstanding relationship and are pleased to be able to take part in the project "Early Childhood Education Internships in South Africa", financed by the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK dir). The InternAbroad project is all about strengthening the student exchange program.
- We want to maximise the outcome for the exchange students, says Gjertrud Stordal from QMUC. - One way of achieving this is to meet the exchange students together before they arrive at the receiving learning institution.
This autumn STADIO will receive 5 exchange students from QMUC. Dr. Amanda Lee is here to meet them and to introduce the outcomes of and start the project. This initial workshop creates the opportunity for student to raise any questions they have with Lee and Stordal.
A more meaningful experience
- We want the exchange period to be a more meaningful experience, says Lee.
- We would like the students to engage more actively and create awareness about their professional development through the exchange period. Very often exchange students will say that they have learned so much, but they are not really able to identify what they have learnt and how it is relevant to their work in Norway.
- When they already know somebody it is easier to ask questions, explains Lee. - And by having digital meetings with the students before they come here, this creates the opportunity for them to prepare for the experience in a country that is culturally different to theirs.
During the exchange at STADIO, the students from QMUC will follow a programme that encompasses two block sessions of teaching practice, an academic module focusing on ECCE studies, a project about sustainability in the local community and a research project where the students investigate their professional identity and development together with the lecturers.
Developing the project further
The project group have many ideas they want to test out and evaluate. Blogs, videos, podcasts, identity collages and other technological tools are of vital importance. The students will get a more holistic learning experience by using blended learning, a combination of online learning and meetings, classroom teaching methods as well as community engagement and service.
- This will strengthen the exchange period and make it even more relevant, claims Stordal.
- During the exchange period the students will be required to keep journals in which they will respond to questions or statements that will guide their reflective process.
Aspects of the project were tested during the covid lockdown, strengthening the collaboration between the two lecturers.
- By sharing a morning coffee over Zoom it is as though we are at the same institute, smiles Lee. - We will continue to have regular meetings, organise workshops and supervise the students together.
The students who are taking part in the project group together with parts of the project group.
From left to right: Amalie Helland Mosling, Wenche Eirin Melvold, Kristin Sollie Nordaune, Rasmus Kolseth Rian - QMUC), Amanda Lee - STADIO, Gjertrud Stordal - QMUC. Sam Akol Kasimba, QMUC, Ingrid Haugseggen Lyse, Heidi Elise Følstad.
The InternAbroad project group consists of Amanda Lee (STADIO), Kerri-Lee Schneider (STADIO), Priya Kistan (STADIO), Brenda Pyper (STADIO), Ingunn Elder (QMUC), Rasmus Rian Kolseth (QMUC), Sam Akol Kasimba (QMUC) and Gjertrud Stordal (QMUC).