EXPERIENCING GLOBAL LEARNING WITHOUT INTERNATIONAL TRAVEL
Providing opportunities to access transformative global learning to all students, faculty, and staff is the main goal of a university. It is a networking strategy to get connected with other universities abroad. It has been going on even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic breakout which led to the postponement of all international travel and the face to face student activity abroad. Syiah Kuala University (UNSYIAH) recognized that part of global learning, is engaging with other nations with different culture.
Due to the limitation and restrictions of international travel, the focus of UNSYIAH has been diverted to Internationalization at Home, which creates opportunities for students to get involve with global learning virtually. Virtual global learning provides opportunities for students to explore online, to collaborate with international students, and acquire intercultural concepts and knowledge with peers around the world.
UNSYIAH in partnership with Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UNIMAP) and Thaksin University (TSU), once again hosted a series of the Virtual Mobility Program – Teentalk Project, on the 30th of October 2020. The first series was held on the 22nd of July 2020. It brought back together three universities virtually to address a contemporary issue called Mental Health for Varsity Students during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Is It Okay to Not Be Okay? It is a unique way of having a collaboration and engagement with students from three different countries.
“This is my first time I joined in such a great virtual program. I was given a chance to deliver a presentation, have an interaction, and participated in a discussion with foreign students from Malaysia and Thailand. This experience enhances my soft skill. I was able to train myself to be more confident to speak in public”, said Munifa Khaira, one of the student’s representative from UNSYIAH.
The global learning and internationalization support students to get connected with international students and gain knowledge in a global perspective. This virtual program develops the intercultural skills of the student specifically in terms of how to be flexible and adaptable. It exposes students to different culture and different point of views. It builds a global networks, and increases significant skills in digital collaboration and communication across the globe with various contexts.
Besides, this collaborative program was organized by the three universities under the IMT-GT University Network Program. This Virtual Mobility Program – Teentalk Project, was held first time on the 10th of June 2020, hosted by UNIMAP. Meanwhile for the last series, it will be held on December 2020, and it will be hosted by TSU. For every series, the program addresses a different topic to be discussed along with the three universities involved.