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Virtual exchange programme with Saybrook University

Seven students from IMC Krems participated in the Education Beyond Borders course of 2020, led by Dr. Claudia Dolezal, PhD, professor at the Institute of Tourism, Wine Business and Marketing.

Virtual Exchange programme with Saybrook University

Students who participated in the Education Beyond Border course were very satisfied to learn more about different methods for self-care techniques.

Education Beyond Borders is an international course launched in 2016 by TCS Education System, a non-profit system of colleges advancing student success & community impact. Education Beyond Borders cultivates a deeper understanding of topics that affect countries across the world with the 2020 programme anchored on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good health and well-being. Over 60 participants, from 8 institutions across the world, came together to explore the impact of COVID-19, create actionable UN manifestos, and develop impactful service projects.

“In the current winter term 2020/21 IMC students could participate in a virtual exchange programme thanks to a cooperation with Saybrook University Accredited, Online College in Pasadena | Saybrook University. The course was offered free of charge to our students and the feedback of our students was very positive,“ says Iris Waringer, Head of International Relations.

“This course is not just a great opportunity to engage with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals at university level, but also offers a chance to get students from various countries to collaborate on real life projects during a rather challenging global time. The effort that went into organising and mentoring the different work groups is impressive – and so is the output that students delivered in their various teams,” highlights Claudia Dolezal.

Course Description 

Education Beyond Borders courses explore an interdisciplinary concept within a global and/or community context. These courses apply theoretical, professional and practical knowledge related to preparing innovative, engaged, and purposeful agents of change to serve a global community.

Good health and well-being within a community context is anchored within United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3, Good health and well-being. It deepens community impact within the most urgent of issues of 2020/2021: Good health in the era of COVID-19 and well-being for all races. The interdisciplinary group seeks to understand the psychological, business, social, educational, legal, healthcare and intercultural perspectives of individuals, families, communities, within the context of global health and well-being. Both micro and macro levels, including domestic and international contexts of the course learning objectives, were explored to develop cross-cutting competencies and learning outcomes as identified as critical to global agents advocating for long-term, sustainable change within local and global communities.

Cross-cutting key competencies and learning objectives

Education Beyond Borders’ cross-cutting key competencies and learning objectives are directly derived from the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which describes the goals of education as: “action-oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports self-directed learning, participation and collaboration, problem-orientation, inter- and transdisciplinary and the linking of formal and informal learning.” 

Feedback by student Elisabeth Haider

“When the opportunity to participate in this programme popped up, I was excited when first reading about it. In my opinion it was a good compensation for my exchange semester in Thailand, which couldn’t take place, because I am always eager to work in an international environment and master new challenges. As Sustainable Development Goal number 3 does not fully correspond with my studies, it was great to get an insight into other relevant issues that need to be dealt with. I learned a lot about the vulnerable populations’ needs in developmental countries, especially regarding topics like sexual and reproductive health and rights as well as substance abuse as an issue faced by Mexican immigrants living in the US.

I must say that I not only gained a lot of new knowledge, but also developed my communication, social and intercultural skills and experiences. It was a pleasure to work in teams with members from (in my case) California and Mexico. We managed to develop two amazing projects. It was funny to work in different time zones, because when I went to bed, my colleagues just started into their day. As we were working with Google Docs and had regular e-mail contact, the collaboration was very easy and went smoothly. I am thankful that I could be part of this experience even though it is not possible to meet anybody in real life right now. It is great that the project could even take place during the pandemic, at a time when associations such as Ventanilla de Salud need even more help.

I’d like to add one extra point: I was surprised to learn what different methods for self-care exist. Before my participation in the Education Beyond Borders programme, I was not aware of apps like the COVID coach or websites and workshops for practising self-care. The idea of having a diary with self-care approaches used every week was really great. I tried out many new things like yoga, meditation, just writing a letter to a friend or taking a walk with my family. 

Also, IMC Krems offers a great workshop (IMC rise) for providing different self-care techniques, which is very useful especially now. I appreciate all the resources we got to try out and I will think more actively about self-care practices from now on.”