Educational Approach

Intercultural Reflections Seminar

From the first days of their experience in Siena  structured and guided reflection becomes key for our students. Robert Hanvey said “He who is closed in a cage of his own culture is at war with the world and he doesn’t know it.”

Our students therefore are stimulated to reflect on every single intercultural encounter he/she has:

  • on the surrounding environment,
  • on historic testimony,
  • on the host family,
  • on relationships between men/women,
  • on his/her peers,
  • on service.

The objective is to create a reflective awareness that allows the student to open himself/herself to the world without getting lost, to discover the confines of his own culture interacting with that of the host culture, to see reality from different perspectives and to feel common ties of humanity under the flow of apparent differences. Reflective writing is the student’s personal tool to create his/her own personal understanding and knowledge.
All students enrolled at SIS take the reflective writing class. The class meets once a week for 2 hours during which the students submit weekly entries concerning their studies and their overall experience/service and share them with their peers. Class is led by the reflective writing instructor who serves as a bridge between the two cultures by facilitating the students’ process of decoding and encoding all cultural signs.


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