The process begins by connecting electronically with a pen pal from the partner university so that when the group arrives each person feels that he/she already has a colleague and a friend. The hosts then help the guests during the visit as they travel to schools, participate in pedagogy classes, experience campus life, and learn about the host city. We learn from each other through informal conversations over coffee as well as through formal presentations about the current state of education in our respective countries.
Some teacher candidates seek further exchange opportunities, and SUNY Buffalo State has been fortunate to host four Universidad Mayor students for a full semester. Now some SUNY Buffalo State students are beginning to explore the possibility of a semester-long experience in Santiago.
Ultimately it will be the children in our U.S. and Chilean classrooms who will benefit from these teachers who have taken a giant step to learn more about the world.