© 2023 by ISHITA SINHA ROY. 

EXL 594: Experiential Learning Travel Seminars 

As a passionate advocate of faculty-led study abroad learning, I have co-led more than eleven such

interdisciplinary Experiential Learning (EL) seminars with Allegheny College colleagues from various departments (Psychology, Geology, Art, Chemistry, Theater, and Neurobiology).


The seminars to different regions in India, East and South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Japan have sought to introduce students to non-western perspectives and experiences of neoliberal globalization. The three-week long summer EL study abroad seminars have addressed topics such as:

  • the exploration of race relations and the experiment with peace and reconciliation in post-apartheid South Africa,

  • environmental sustainability challenges in Kenya and corporate interventions,

  • the re-definition of democracy and secularism in postcolonial India, following the rise of neoliberal Hindutva (Hindu fundamentalist neo-nationalism),

  • the recovery of Sri Lanka from decades of civil insurgency,

  • the study of water ecology and eco-tourism in southern India, and

  • the postmodern hybridity of a reluctantly globalizing Japan.  

Most recently, in the summer of 2019, my colleague Professor Beth Watkins (Theater) and I co-led an El seminar to India. Here's a writeup on it from Athena magazine. My next EL collaboration is in the summer of 2020 with Associate Professor Dr. Lauren French (Biology/Neuroscience). Together, we will take Allegheny students from different fields of study (communication, economics, art, neurobiology, and global health) to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, to study the Mekong Delta in our seminar on "Wars and Waterways." 





At Allegheny College, the summer EXL 594 Experiential Learning (EL) travel seminars (for 2-4 credits) typically

include travel in the U.S. or abroad, and incorporate a range of on-site explorations, intercultural activities, and lectures/workshops by local experts, that complement or illustrate the seminar topic. The seminars encourage students to integrate their intercultural and experiential learning with theory and research from their fields.

Students are exposed to diverse ideas, peoples, cultures, perspectives, and ways of life. The EXL 594

courses are designed and team-taught by Allegheny faculty and/or staff educators. Individual EL Seminars are reviewed by the Study Away and Campus Internationalization Committee and approved by the Curriculum Committee. For summer EL seminars, there is intensive academic preparation on the seminar topic during the Spring semester prior to travel. Graded assignments include travel journals, reflective blogs and papers, supervised research or community projects in the host culture, and re-entry presentations to public audiences.

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Two students I closely mentored during the application process for the nationally competitive Gilman awards from the U.S. State Department secured full scholarships that covered their costs for the India EL Seminar in summer 2019. Allegheny students Marisol Santa Cruz and Bryan Quiroz are both first-generation students from California:

This year, two more first generation Allegheny College students I supervised -- Inez Gilson and Cesar Bautista -- received partial funding through the Gilman Scholarships. They will be participating in the 2020 Summer "Wars & Waterways" EL seminar to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.

A few glimpses into previous EL Seminars I have co-led @