Authors:

Hsinhuei Sheen Chiou, PhD CCC-SLP, Professor, Department of Speech, Hearing and Rehabilitation Services, Minnesota State University Mankato, United States and HsinJen Julie Hsu, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education, National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan

The Global Experiences Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSU-Mankato) is a new program designed for international student visitors to explore speech-language pathology programs and services in the U.S. The program offers a global learning opportunity for MSU-Mankato graduate students majoring in communication sciences and disorders (CSD) to engage in diversity training with the visitors.

How did the program get started?

Hsinhuei Sheen Chiou was the lead instructor of the program. During Sheen's sabbatical leave in spring 2018, she co-taught an adult language class to graduate students majoring in speech-language pathology at National Kaohsiung Normal University (NKNU) in Taiwan. Sheen and HsinJen Julie Hsu, an assistant professor at National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), explored a global learning opportunity focusing on American speech-language pathology for their Taiwanese students and identified available university support and government funding to conduct the program.

Establishing a new program requires substantial collaboration and support within the host university. Sheen identified available programs and activities on campus and reached out to alumni and colleagues to obtain interests from a variety of off-campus medical facilities. She was awarded with the Global Education Faculty Curriculum Development Grant from MSU-Mankato to create a 1-credit advanced multicultural course allowing CSD graduate students to apply their multicultural knowledge and work collaboratively with the visitors in an interactive learning environment. In Taiwan, Julie was awarded with the Global Exchange Grant for teacher education from the Ministry of Education of Taiwan providing financial support for NTHU students to attend the program. Six students were selected based on their academic performance, English language ability, and interest in pursuing a future master's degree in speech-language pathology.

What the program entails and who are the program participants?
Eight international student visitors attended the 2019 Global Experiences Program (held from mid-June to mid-July in 2019). The visitors included six NTHU undergraduate students majoring in special education and two NKNU graduate students majoring in speech-language pathology. The program provides unique opportunities to introduce speech-language pathology in the U.S. medical system in all levels of care – including inpatient care, outpatient care, assisted living, memory care, university program training and university services in the community. The visitors learned about innovative rehabilitation services and research offered at Health Partners Neuroscience Center in St. Paul, MN, toured outpatient services at the Mayo Clinic Health Services and Pediatric Therapy Services in Mankato, MN, and visited assisted living and memory care at Oak Terrace in North Mankato, MN. They observed speech therapy sessions at the Center for Communication Sciences and Disorders at MSU-Mankato and learned about supported conversation for adults with aphasia in MSU-Mankato Aphasia Group and MnCAN Conversational Group. They participated in popular summer programs including Camp Maverick (a literacy and recreational camp for children) and Scrubs camp (exploring health-related fields of study for high school students) on campus. They also attended Garden Engagement, a dementia friendly garden program, at the Living Earth Community Garden in Mankato. In the new multicultural class, they presented professional topics on speech therapy services, special education, and healthcare system in Taiwan and compared and contrasted the professional topics between the two countries with CSD graduate students. They met Taiwanese doctoral students majoring in speech-language-pathology at the University of Minnesota, and had a great time going on outings with students, faculty, staff, two college deans and the provost at MSU-Mankato.

Reported student outcomes
The Global Experieces Program provides advanced cultural training opportunities for both groups of students. They enjoyed this hands-on professional experience and learned about each other’s cultures in a more in-depth way because they spent time with each other in both academic and social settings. Selected quotes from the program participants are listed below:

MSU-Mankato CSD students
- “Such a great opportunity to compare and contrast cultures and educational experiences. I learned so much.
- I enjoyed learning more about other culture and the Taiwanese visitors’ experiences here in the U.S. and compare to their norms. Also, hanging out with them was awesome.
- It was easier to wrap my head around some of the cultural differences when it was a hands-on experience.
- I love spending time with the Taiwanese students! They are so kind and genuinely curious about our culture as well as excited to share their culture with us!”
Taiwanese student visitors
- “ All students and faculty members are so nice and friendly. I have learned so much about their culture by talking to them and hanging out with them.
- I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to tour so many different facilities and talk to different people. I learned so much from observing adult clients with aphasia in their speech therapy sessions. I never thought that therapy can be fun!
- Participating in this two-week program was totally worth it. I was interested in speech-language pathology and was very keen to learn more about it. This journey is eye opening for me; what I learned and experienced really helped me determine my career path.
- I really enjoyed interacting with the children at Camp Maverick. They were so eager to know everything about Taiwan. I had a great time interacting with them and answering their questions about food, transportation, weather, geography, population and recreations in Taiwan.”

Multicultural Class 1Multicultural Class 2

First-year CSD graduate students and the Taiwanese student visitors participated in the multicultural class.