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Student perspective: Bridging Cultures and Breaking Barriers in a Virtual Exchange Journey 

Chadchavan Sritong currently works as a Spanish teacher at Concan University in Thailand. As a Thai student he completed his Master’s degree at the University of Granada, Spain. Today he shares his unique journey of his enriching one-year experience in Spain. Among personal and professional growth, he highlights his involvement in a virtual exchange project connecting universities from Mexico, Spain, and the Netherlands. 

The Virtual Exchange Project: Collaboration and Preparation 

Starting the virtual exchange project was like going on an adventure. The two Spanish teachers from the University of Groningen gave us clear instructions during our orientation. We were going to collaborate with students from Grand Lodge University. Participation to the exchange project was optional but also an encouraged opportunity, our teachers in Granada truly encouraged us to participate. Despite language difficulties and scheduling differences, the preparation phase stood out, showing the dedication and motivation of our teachers in Granada. 

Our teacher at Granada also motivated us to join, to get experience from teaching online like this.

– Chadchavan Sritong 

Duration, Challenges, and Inspiring Experiences 

The timeline of the virtual exchange project took about two-and-a-half months including the preparation phase. Chadchavan addresses the challenges he faced in adapting his Spanish language to other students with different language skill levels. Despite these obstacles, the rewarding experience of applying theoretical knowledge to practical teaching situations is highlighted. Interaction with students from different backgrounds also added an inspiring dimension to the project.  

I was lucky to get students from different backgrounds, from Irish, Dutch, and Swiss background..

– Chadchavan Sritong 

Project Overview: Exploring Stereotypes in Latin American Countries  

The project centered around stereotypes and aimed to broaden students’ perspectives by exploring the representation of stereotypes in different Latin American countries. The main aim was to provide new insights and knowledge, encouraging students to prepare presentations on the prevalent stereotypes in their own countries. The class discussions and reflections that followed were designed not only to deepen cultural understanding but also to improve Spanish-speaking skills.  

Students were tasked with creating brief content, photos, or short clips that shed light on the stereotypes existing in their countries. The assignment aimed to foster a dynamic exchange of perspectives among classmates and with the teacher.  

The collaborative process involved each student presenting their prepared work, initiating questions and discussions among peers. This interactive exchange continued until each student had shared their insights. Students were asked reflective questions about stereotypes, expressing their opinions individually in Spanish, thus creating a rich dialogue. Finally, the teacher provided constructive feedback tailored to each student’s contribution. 

Lessons Learned and Advice for Future Participants 

Chadchavan reflected on the valuable lessons he learnt from this virtual exchange project, including managing online classes and motivating students to speak Spanish. He further highlighted the need for teachers to be familiar with online learning tools and the importance of an orientation session on how to use them. 

You have to prepare some knowledge before you can give online class; it’s not the same as a face-to-face class.

– Chadchavan Sritong 

Chadchavan appreciates the well-structured preparation of the project and the reflective part for both students and teachers. The open approach to feedback and suggestions is recognised as a positive aspect, assisting in the continuous improvement of the virtual exchange project.