When you are thousands of miles from home in a new country, how do you break out of the “American bubble” and actively integrate in the host culture? In this post, we’re checking in with our students to see how they have explored different avenues for cultural immersion in their Global City.
Here are just a few examples of how you can learn about cultural traditions, meet locals, and go beyond while abroad!
1. Language and Cultural Exchange
In Florence, CAPA’s programs like GANZO! and FriendMe invite you to meet local families and students and practice language skills. Even if you don’t live in a homestay, there are plenty of opportunities for you to learn about Italian culture from Florentines and share American culture with them. You might have more in common than you think!
Student blogger Payton Meyer snaps a picture of her GANZO! family sitting down to dinner.
By participating in an internship at any of our centers, you not only get international work experience but also the opportunity to interact with locals about work culture, travel tips, and more. In Barcelona, our students have held internships in start-ups and non-profits, and can even choose from English-speaking or Spanish-speaking placements.
3. Field Study
CAPA programs are founded on the idea that global cities offer tremendous opportunity for learning out of the classroom, which is why many courses include exciting field studies to explore the city. In Sydney for instance, one blogger learned about Australian sports culture when her Sports Marketing class visited Sydney Olympic Park.
Cheering on like a local at an Australian Football Game.
In most CAPA locations you can choose a homestay, but in Buenos Aires, all students will live with host families. Through homestays, you’ll learn about Argentine lifestyle, food, and family, and be able to practice your Spanish as well. It is truly one of the best ways to feel at home when away from home!
CAPA Student enjoying dinner with her host family in Buenos Aires
5. Campus Life
Often a language barrier is the only thing standing between you and new friends, but sometimes a shared hobby or identity marker can bring you together. Our fall vloggers in Shanghai talk about how they found community on East China Normal University’s campus through athletics or centers of faith.
6. Service Learning and Volunteering
While abroad, it’s always important to think about the impact you have on the host country welcoming you. In London, CAPA offers service learning opportunities for students in community centers, NGOs, schools, hospitals, and MP offices across the city. You can even earn a Certificate of Study in Community Engagement during our semester certificate programs.
CAPA Student volunteering in an elementary school.
7. My Global City Events
CAPA students in all locations participate in My Global City events, fun and engaging social events and cultural activities with opportunities for reflection. Some examples from Dublin have included attending a Gaelic football game or an excursion to Belfast. As you build confidence in your host country, you can be Irish dancing at local culture nights in no time!
Live music at Club Conradh na Gaeilge.
Through these ways and more, you will meet people who will transform your study abroad location into an unforgettable second home. So get out there!