Read about our newest API program offerings from Emily Nagle, API Regional Director of University Relations and Outreach and API Taormina Alumna.
Flashbacks from travel abroad:
- Running through the airport with a twenty-five pound half-zipped backpack, tripping over untied shoelaces, anxiously checking the airline app while juggling my passport, a water bottle, and a jacket, stress-sweating, racing to catch a flight
- Battling to keep my jetlagged eyes open at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, feeling disrespectful dozing off during a guided museum tour, downing a few too many espressos, and later laying wide awake at 2am, my body refusing to adjust to the time zone
- Blushing more and more while stumbling through ordering a coffee from a German-speaking server in a mix of English, attempted German, and weirdly Spanish(?!) only to receive a bratwurst instead
I never thought I would miss any of those feelings, let alone crave them…
*Enter Spring 2020*
With the world turned upside down by a pandemic, travel of any kind seems like so much more of a luxury–from visiting other countries to simply leaving our homes. I’ve found myself craving travel, global experiences, and interactions with people of different cultures now more than ever.
Despite our physical limitations, it amazes me how technology enables us to stay connected–not just with our friends, family, and colleagues, but with the rest of the world. Although we can’t really race through airports, get jetlagged, or have embarrassing restaurant language exchanges, with the right resources, we can learn and engage across cultures with just a few clicks.
The current circumstances have truly highlighted the prowess of technology, and API has taken this as an opportunity for innovation. With our international staff and global network, we created programs to fit the needs of students right now. We’re excited to launch a number of virtual opportunities–not as a quick fix, but as a long term modern elevation of our offerings. Online coursework facilitated by our international partners as well as virtual internship placements provide a chance for students to stay on track with academic plans in a unique way.
These aren’t just typical online courses. We believe that cultural immersion is an integral part of education abroad, whether experienced in person or remotely. Throughout each virtual API program, participants can interact with their host country’s culture through API’s user-friendly learning platform. Both the virtual study and internship programs build intercultural connections through virtual activities like cooking classes, museum visits, guided tours, language exchanges, and more. Even remotely, participants can engage with one another, enjoy a keynote speaker series, and build skills as they earn digital badges. Without leaving home, students can differentiate their resumes with an international learning experience.
Our Resident Directors abroad can’t wait to share their local customs with students–not only remotely, but also in person. All virtual summer program participants have the option to embark on a 7-day API international excursion in January 2021. API wants to invest in our students so all participants who complete a 2020 virtual summer program will receive either a $500 scholarship for an on-site Summer 2021 program or a $3,000 scholarship for a semester-long 2021 program.
Right now, as the world manages this pandemic and many of us are confined to our homes, we can take advantage of technology and come together virtually. We can continue to learn, bridge cultural barriers, and connect citizens from around the globe. API is at the forefront of developing exciting new virtual options to continue to innovate and inspire global learning, during the current circumstances and beyond.