Program structure

The program is structured in three parts. Participants are expected to take part in all the activities of the mentoring program.

The program supports students in...

  • learning to talk about the study abroad experience in view of future professional interviews 
  • acquiring learning strategies and skills for positive learning experiences at the host university
  • reflecting on personal role and experiences and developing a self-critical stance and self-awareness
  • learning to formulate expectations and dealing with (inter)cultural situations and social realities 
  • learning to deal with stereotypes and prejudice
  • settling in the new social and cultural environment

Before you leave: First Steps in Intercultural Learning

In this session, we will look at intercultural learning, its meaning, relevance and problems. With some theoretical input, exercises and group work we will negotiate what it means to be an intercultural learner in preparation of your time abroad. ‘Interculturality’, ‘culture’ and other related and equally complex terms will be discussed. We will discuss the expectations that you have for your study abroad. You will get a chance to connect with other participants from the University of Bern, and we will inform you about the activities during the study abroad and your responsibilities towards your peers.

During study abroad: Blog contributions and a Zoom interview

While you are away, you will be asked to write blog contributions to the milsablog, and to do a Zoom interview with your intercultural learning mentor, as well as talk to your MILSA group during a online group meeting.

After you return: Coming Home Workshop

This session will allow you to reconnect with the other participants in person. We will exchange experiences of going abroad and coming home, you will have time to reflect on common cultural practices with the other MILSA participants. You will receive a group task that you can start during the workshop and are asked to finish soon afterwards, with the option of uploading it on the milsablog. We will also concern ourselves with your study abroad as an asset for your future professional life. At the end of the program you will be asked to complete a survey.

Certificate of Intercultural Learning

Students who have participated will receive an official confirmation of participation from the University of Bern. The confirmation will list the intercultural communications skills, learning and competence the student has acquired during the study abroad and as a participant of the program. Additionally, according to the participants study plan it might be possible to receive 2 ECTS. In any case, participation will be entered in KSL and appear in the Transcript of Records.


In order to attend the program fully and to obtain the certificate, participants must:

  • be enrolled at the University of Bern
  • be going on an exchange for one or two semesters
  • take part in the First Steps in Intercultural Learning Workshop
  • write two blog posts for the MILSA blog
  • conduct one Zoom interview with the MILSA mentor
  • take part in a group call via Zoom with the MILSA group (optional)
  • take part in the Coming Home Workshop

What the program offers

The mentoring program offers students the opportunity of developing and enhancing their intercultural learning and intercultural communication skills. It also offers exchanging experiences with fellow participants before, during and after the exchange.

What the program does not offer

The MILSA program does not offer a peer mentoring system with students from the host university; it does not offer practical support in terms of finding a place to stay or choosing courses at the host university.