The present chapter offers an approach to internationalization at home enacted through the Soliya Connect Program. This curriculum-integrated initiative promotes interaction and collaboration in English among students from different countries and has been set up since the spring semester 2018 at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan. The program is run by Soliya, an international non-profit organisation whose main aim is to enhance and facilitate intercultural exchanges through telecollaboration projects. In our university, second and third-year students studying English at the Faculty of Linguistic Sciences and Foreign Literatures are targeted. The present study aims to describe the salient features of the Soliya Connect Program during the years of its implementation at Università Cattolica through selected contextual parameters from Hymes (1978) and Halliday and Hasan (1989). The Program is then assessed through pre- and post-questionnaires administered to 124 students from 2019 to 2021. The Grounded Theory approach was used to systematically analyse data from the questionnaires to understand and theorise about what happens in synchronous and asynchronous telecollaboration situations. The data were examined through a qualitative and quantitative analysis to investigate the perceptions and reactions of the students with respect to intercultural communication, media literacy and language development. Results show the distinguishing features of the Soliya Connect Program and how it was embedded in language courses at Università Cattolica. Data from the questionnaires show that the students perceived the program as a highly productive experience. They appear to have improved their levels of intercultural awareness by getting engaged in tasks and activities which they reported to be not threatening, but rather motivating and authentic. All the students involved in the program reported a perceived improvement in their English language competence. This indicates that, although the program is not specifically designed for learners of English as a foreign language, it provides opportunities to interact in English, challenging students with intercultural debates.
|Titolo della pubblicazione ospite||Steps towards Internationalization at Home. Experiences at a Northern Italian University|
|Numero di pagine||27|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Pubblicato - 2022|
- Intercultural exchange
- Virtual Exchange