University 101 Programs




Exploring Cultural Differences and Similarities in the United States through Domestic Study Away

Have students from the state of South Carolina thought about what life is like outside of the state?  Have out of state students thought about what it will be like to adjust to a new culture?  This interactive session will focus on addressing differences and similarities, as well as how to challenge and embrace regional populations in North America and get to know their classmates better.  It will also educate students on their options for studying and traveling in North America through Domestic Study Away (including the National Student Exchange) at USC.

Learning Outcomes

The “Exploring Cultural Differences and Similarities in the United States through Domestic Study Away” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:

II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina

a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement

This session will help make students aware of the opportunities for Domestic Study Away on the USC campus and the process for applying for those opportunities. These programs include: Faculty-led courses (spring semester, Maymester, and summer), Independent Programs (such as the Washington Semester and programs associated with other schools in the USC) and the National Student Exchange.

III. Prepare Students for Responsible Lives in a Diverse, Interconnected, and Changing World

b. Describe concepts of diversity and recognize diverse perspectives

This session will assist students in reflecting on differences and potential stereotypes they may have about North American and challenge them to re-examine those and get out and explore them first-hand.

As a result of attending this presentation students will:

  • Reflect on stereotypes they may have of regional US populations
  • Challenge perceptions they may have of other cultures
  • Identify domestic study opportunities at USC
  • Connect their career and/or personal goals to the benefits of exchange
  • Identify the steps to take to plan for an exchange
Presentation Outline

  • Introduction of Speaker, Office and Presentation Goals 
  • Make Your Map
  • Students will get up and moving by making a map across the room of where they are from in the country. Once students have stretched out across the room they will share where they are from and something unique about their home area and why they decided to attend USC.
  • North America Trivia
  • Following the Make Your Map sharing activity, students will be put into small teams from different areas of the country (or state) to challenge one another in trivia focusing on the history, geography, governmental makeup and customs of North America. The question bank will be the same for every presentation, but presenters will be able to select questions from it based on their audience and time available.
  • Following the wrap up of the trivia and the handing out of prizes, presenter will move into short group discussion on what students found interesting, did not know, and want to know more about.
  • Responding to Stereotypes Activities
  • Ask students to describe someone from California and then show the California misperceptions commercial. Ask them to think about their description as compared to the clip and move into next activity.
  • Students will get up and move once again in this last activity of the presentation. Students will be placed in pairs or small groups (determined by class size) and asked to discuss perceived stereotypes associated with people from a certain region/city/state. The positive and the negative. Following this activity large group discussion will focus on ways to address these misconceptions.
  • Cocky Nation
  • Students often hear about opportunities to expand their horizons abroad, but few students realize they can gain a different cultural perspective without leaving North America or going too far from home.  How can students explore North America and challenge their own perceptions and explore a new culture without having to cross oceans? Through Domestic Study Away! Students who take advantage of domestic study away do so for a variety of reasons including but not limited to getting out of their comfort zone, testing the waters before going abroad, taking classes not offered at USC, gaining new perspectives, developing language skills (French in Canada and Spanish in Puerto Rico), and meeting new people from different walks of life.
  • Overview of three options- costs, time lines, benefits, deadlines, locations, process.
  • Faculty-led (share upcoming course options)
  • Independent programs
  • National Student Exchange (have a current NSE student come with presenter and share or show USC student YouTube NSE clips)
  • Personal reflection via ‘luggage tag’
  • Presenters will handout luggage tags and ask students to reflect on what they have learned during the presentation via the 3 questions:
  • How can you personally challenge cultural stereotypes?
  • If going on exchange, what would be your top expectation/thing you would want to experience during your time away?
  • How do you think exploring North America might benefit your future?
  • Wrap Up/Questions/Surveys

Presentation Length

50 minutes or 75 minutes

Presenter Training

Presentations will be given by OSE Professional staff and OSE graduate assistants. A third group – OSE facilitators – will also be used. All presenters will go through a one day training session on program presentations. In this training they will see the presentation given in its entirety and then will break out in small groups to learn the presentation and practice with one another. Additionally, each presenter will be given a brief outline of the presentation as well as a full script that they can make use of as needed. Finally, presenters that are new to the office will have the option to shadow staff members who have given the presentation previously prior to giving the presentation on their own. Four business days prior to giving the presentation presenters are slated to email a form email to the instructor confirming the presentation and checking on class size and technology.