Education Abroad (EA)


Cultivating Intercultural Friendships: A Bridge to Positive Peace

Friday, June 2
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
LACC, Room 408B

Research indicates that friendship building between international students and host-nationals is an effective strategy to increase language learning, build intercultural competence, and promote peace. Targeted intervention strategies can motivate and equip students to cultivate meaningful intercultural friendships at home and abroad.

Learning Objectives:

Dolores Rafter-Arevalo

Coordinator Office of Global Education
Pennsylvania State University-Abington Office of Global Programs

Dolores Rafter Arevalo, Ph.D., is the coordinator of the Office of Education & Engagement at Penn State University Abington and a faculty member in Communication in the Division of Arts & Humanities. Her current interests and research include the development of intercultural communication competence through study abroad and study away. She has held positions in the United States in the areas of international student services and education abroad. She has also taught English to speakers of other languages in the United States, Spain and Japan. Her most recent publication includes an introductory textbook in Intercultural Communication published by Waveland Press in 2015. She is also the co-creator and co-facilitator of a faculty development program, The Global Awareness Dialogue Project which has been offered over the past 4 years at Penn State Abington. The model for the program was delivered as a workshop at the Annual NAFSA Conference in Boston in 2015. She holds an undergraduate degree in Spanish language and literature from West Chester University; a Masters degree in TESOL from the University of Arizona and a Communication Sciences from Temple University.


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Elsa Maxwell

Academic Director, Intercultural Learning
CIEE: Council on International Educational Exchange

Dr. Elsa Maxwell is the Academic Director of Intercultural Learning at CIEE. She has worked in the field of education abroad for the past decade in a variety of roles for CIEE's Study and Teach Abroad programs.

In her current position as Academic Director, she oversees intercultural teaching and learning for CIEE's study abroad programs, focusing on curriculum development and instructor training. She also teaches CIEE's signature course 'Intercultural Communication and Leadership' at the Valparaiso, Chile Study Center, where she is remotely based.

Elsa has facilitated International Faculty Development Seminars on intercultural learning, and also serves as a trainer for CIEE's Employee Intercultural Development Program. She has significant experience as an IDI qualified administrator and has presented at major education abroad conferences.

Elsa has a doctorate and a master's degree from the University of Chile in cultural studies and literature. She is originally from Minnesota, where she received her undergraduate degree at Augsburg College.


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