by Martin Naffziger, M.Ed.
SI Global Academy understands that true, meaningful learning and growth happen when we engage with ourselves and our world through immersive experiences rather than purely traditional classroom learning. This understanding means that our student Immersive Experiences are different than traditional study-abroad models.
What makes our Immersive Experiences in the U.S., Costa Rica, Peru, Austria, and South Africa different?
Preparation to Make Real Connections
At SIGA, we prepare throughout the year for each Immersive Experience, as connecting through language and culture are huge parts of getting to know a new place. However, we also understand that we are not only visiting a new place, but that we are entering a new community. At SI Global Academy, students will spend their year preparing by connecting with and getting to know individuals and communities who will welcome us as hosts. This means that SIGA students are not outside visitors, but arrive as part of a supportive community.
Abandoning the Prescriptive Model of Study Abroad
Study Abroad programs in high schools and colleges across the United States are often described as “carefully-designed” or “faculty-taught” experiences that carry predetermined learning and service goals with them. At SI Global Academy, we take questions. Through the investigation of these questions, we learn about language, history, art and more from the perspective of our hosts rather than our own. This is true experiential learning!
Our connections with individuals and communities begin throughout our months of preparation, but don’t end there. As we are welcomed into our Immersive Experiences, SI Global Academy partners with local schools, organizations and businesses to truly connect with and better understand our new communities. Want to partner with the University for Peace in Costa Rica? Indigenous communities in the mountains of Peru? The Global Citizenship Alliance in Austria? Yep, we can do that.
SI Global Academy students develop a portfolio unlike any other high school graduate's, and our Immersive Experiences provide student-led, inquiry-driven opportunities to showcase skills developed while answering Essential Questions. Maybe you want to produce a documentary film on organic coffee farming. Or design a website documenting your family’s history from their first arrival in the States. How about collaborating to develop a community art gallery promoting immigrant rights? Let’s work together to make it happen.
SI Global Academy’s Essential Questions - those that drive our curiosity about and immersion in our world - are investigated throughout the year and during Immersive Experiences. Answers to these questions - new perspectives and understanding, new skills developed, new connections with individuals and communities - lead us back to reflection and should alter our questions (and answers!) about ourselves. How has this experience changed my answers to “Who am I”? How do I interface differently with the world? This reflection on Immersive Experiences sets SIGA students apart.
Multiple contributors will be posting on our blog to keep you posted on the development of SIGA!
Copyright 2018 Supported Immersion Global Academy - SIGA. All Rights Reserved.
To get involved with changing the educational paradigm so that high school students have the opportunity to engage in an integrated, holistic, supportive educational community locally and internationally, please contact us today. We welcome feedback, development ideas, fundraising offers and opportunities, and collaboration!
"Siga" in Spanish means keep going... continue forward... persist... and that's what we do!
If you're ready to engage, immerse, and emerge a better you,
consider SIGA for your high school experience and your life.