When we take our students on overseas trips, we like to bring UK students and local students together.
The students work together on physical geography tasks (for example: water quality, noise pollution). They can also use simple apps to identify local species and biodiversity. We have had issues with students co-operating on the tasks together due to differences in cultures, and languages (for example: with locations being written in the native language). Students on both sides fear working with one another but in working together they are learning about each other’s cultures and how to work and communicate with people from different countries. These are vital skills for creating more inclusive students. For the native students it can be difficult working in another language especially if their English is not very good at this stage. Due to the pandemic, we have not had a chance to get to grips with these issues although we have found that getting the different groups to work on different topics has avoided the issue of friends ending up working together. Also, identifying topics where the students can bring in their own culture and identity to the project also works well. So these are the challenges we have faced and are still working on but we want to overcome them to help make the classes more diverse and inclusive and give an equally good experience for both cohorts of students.
Another challenge we have seen with overseas fieldtrips is that initially students are very excited about being in a new country, new place, new culture, and new food. However, after maybe half a day students get very stressed and nervous as they discover there are no English signs and the food taste different and so on. So we have found that students find the first 2 or 3 days quite stressful. However, after a few days the student settle into their routine and come to enjoy being in this new environment again. So giving students space in the first few days is really important and not to require too much of them as they adjust.