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My Experience In Pictures

Tool Objectives: 
  1. To analyze and interpret local culture through the medium of photography.
  2. To investigate a particular global issue or topic central to the course and of personal interest.
  3. To become a more careful and astute observer and to engage in conscientious reflection of one’s intercultural experiences.
Tool Description: 

A picture is worth a thousand words! Taking photographs is a common activity during most international travel.  This exercise encourages students to use their camera view finder as a means through which to better understand the host culture and expand their knowledge of a particular global issue. In doing so, students learn to be more careful and astute observers and engage in conscientious reflection of their learning.  And they might become better photographers, too!

Tool Procedures: 
  1. Photography Etiquette. Prior to departure or shortly after arrival, facilitate a brief discussion about photography etiquette. For example, have students discuss the importance of asking permission before taking someone’s photo. Remind students to exercise caution when taking photographs.  Some country-specific laws may apply, see
  1. Global Issues. Have students decide on a particular global issue or a topic central to the course. The focus of the activity will be to document evidence of that issue while abroad. Potential global issues could include energy conservation, global branding, environmental degradation, terrorism, politics, etc.
  1. Photo Album. Upon return, have each student select 8-10 photos taken during the international travel component of the course and compose 2-3 succinct paragraphs describing each photo and its significance to the global issue. Encourage students to cite assigned reading from the course or other secondary sources in their descriptions. The photographs and descriptions should be organized in a photo album with other mementos or evidence of the global issue. Alternatively, consider allowing students the option of creating an on-line photo album, such as on My Space or Facebook.  A Facebook account for the course could be set up.
  1. Open House. If time allows, consider hosting an end of course Open House, in which students present their photo albums to each other and invited guests. This would allow students the opportunity to share their learning with others and thus, broaden the reach of the course. This may also be an effective strategy for the future promotion of the course.  
  1. Optional:  As not every student will have a digital camera, it may be necessary to have students work in pairs. Also, consider having students write the descriptions in the host language. 
Tool Evaluation: 

Students should not be graded on their photography skills. Instead, they should be graded on how the photos and related descriptions document and explain the global issue. The assignment should not count for more than 20% of the overall course grade. If possible, prepare a sample photo with a description that explains a global issue related to the course content. 

Tool Time Requirement: 

One class session for Open House (optional, post-study abroad)

Tool Author(s): 

M. Reinig & A. Ogden, 2009.

Tool Handouts [.doc or .docx]: 

Site copyright 2012, University of Kentucky, Education Abroad.
Toolkit Authors: Duarte Morais, Ph.D., Anthony C. Ogden, Ph.D., & Christine Buzinde, Ph.D.
More information about the toolkit authors.

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