About the project

The University of Bern and the University of Technology Sydney are collaborators on a research project investigating methods for facilitating university students’ intercultural learning through study abroad programs. The project which runs in 2016-17 is titled ‘MILSA’ (‘Mentoring Intercultural Learning through Study Abroad’ or ‘Mentoringprogramm für interkulturelles Lernen während des studentischen Auslandaufenthalts’) and is supported by the Mercator Foundation Switzerland, the University of Bern and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney. 

The project aims to understand how educators and exchange program administrators can maximise the opportunities afforded by study abroad programs to facilitate student intercultural learning. One of the first activities of the project was a research colloquium held on 14 and 15 April 2016 in Bern to bring together experts working in the area of intercultural learning in study abroad.  During the colloquium, current practices and directions in a range of international contexts were explored. They will help to inform and guide the direction of the MILSA project over the next two years. Currently, trials are being held with outgoing students of the University of Bern. By the end of the project, an established and tested mentoring program for intercultural learning for students who are studying abroad will be made available to other international offices of Swiss institutions of higher education as well as interested parties abroad.