Alexis McKenney is Professor and Director of the Recreational Therapy program at Temple University. While teaching at FIU, McKenney created a study abroad section of her global learning course, Inclusive Recreational Services, which has turned out to be transformational for her and her students. We start off by discussing what the field of recreational therapy is all about, we explore what’s “global” about the field and when global learning should be infused into any degree program. We take a deep dive into how she designed study abroad experiences that guide students beyond sympathy to empathy, advocacy, and action. Regardless of the discipline you in which you teach, whether you’ve led study abroad or are just considering it, I think you’ll take away great ideas from this talk.
- “’Vorrei Prendere Il Treno!’ (I Want to Take the Train): A narrative about how one Inclusive Recreation Services study abroad course helped students to understand challenges people with disabilities confront while traveling abroad,” by Alexis McKenney
- Radical Self Trust Framework, Katie Linder
- Design Thinking
- Social Model of Disability
- Global Perspective Inventory (GPI)
- FIU Accessing the World Scholarship
- Diversity Abroad
- Mobility International USA
“Advocacy is often thought of as or gets confused with activism, thinking it has to be something really big. Some [students] might go on to do something really big, but what is equally important is can you have that conversation? Can you go back and diplomatically and carefully challenge a friend or a family member who is making a decision that could potentially be harmful or limit a person's access to something or ability to experience something?"
"I really think it's important we make every effort in higher education to make sure that students with disabilities feel welcome in study abroad. Understand that those opportunities are available to them too, because I suspect a lot just think, no, why would I even bother? How am I going to bring a chair? How am I going to be able to study this, how am I going to be able to study that? We should all be as academics saying, well we'll figure that out. We'll just make it happen. There is no reason you should not be able to go."