The program is grounded in peace journalism and intercultural competence theory, and consists of three main components: a pre-departure program orientation, ten weeks of interactive blogging, and a final celebration in which the study abroad student visits his or her middle school classroom in person upon re-entry.
There are two program objectives. The first is to supplement middle grade social studies, langauge arts, and/or foreign langauge curriculum, and to support State learning standards with a fun and easy-to-use social media tool. The goal is to maximize experiential learning while minimizing outside teacher prep time.
The other program objective is to enrich the overseas experience of the participating study abroad students. By framing these students as peace journalists and providing them a readership of young learners, the students are poised to approach their new context with sharpened senses and a critical mind. Observation, asking questions, suspending judgment, building relationships, and seeking out voices that are missing from the dominant discourse are all attributes of peace journalism, the practice of which will enable the study abroad students (and middle schoolers back home) to meaningfully connect across cultural difference.