Collaborative Online International Learning Course

Sociology COIL Course

“Collaboration is essential to education. The class required us to collaborate for a variety of projects, pushing us out of our comfort zones and helping us develop communicative and team-building skills, which are crucial in the world outside of the university. Also, we had to collaborate with students overseas via teleconference, which sounded like an intimidating task at first but turned out to be an eye-opening experience that gave us a new perspective on our own country.”

    — Stewart Mitchell ‘18

Seminar on Identity and Locality (Sociology 470)

Interested in how people develop their sense of self and identity? Interested in a connecting with people from another culture? This sociology seminar, open to all students, explores sociological and psychological theories of identity with an emphasis on the importance of local identity and how the places we think of as home shape us. The seminar also collaborates on research in a local community, exploring the place, its history, and the people’s sense of identity. The research is used to develop an interactive tool (like a board game or a website) that can be used in that community to study and facilitate local identity development.

An exciting aspect of the course is it will include videoconference class sessions with faculty and students from the University of Pecs in Hungary. Lessons and dialogue with Hungarian faculty and students deepen students’ understanding of course material and provide a way to connect with people from another culture, helping students see their world from diverse perspectives.

After the semester, the seminar visits Pécs for a brief but rich 10-day study abroad experience that includes time in Budapest as well as a stay at the University of Pécs in beautiful southwestern Hungary to learn firsthand about Hungarian culture, history, and identity. The seminar also visits a rural Hungarian community with opportunities for dialogue with its residents.


Husky Abroad COIL Blog

“I was most excited about learning about another culture I have never experienced before and getting to meet people! I think my biggest take away is we’re all different and come from different places — but at the same time — we’re still pretty similar. The college students over there do somewhat of the same thing we do. BU should do this again, because honestly it was an amazing experience and I would love to do it again before I graduate! It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

    — Andrea Dennis ’19

“Everything in Hungary seems to move so slowly compared to the U.S. People take their time getting from place to place, nobody is constantly checking their cell phones, waiters don't try to rush you out of restaurants, and you never feel like you're in a hurry. It's jarring at first, and it made me feel uncomfortable, but I came to love it over the course of the trip. It seems like they place a lot of value on living in the moment, and not worrying about what you're going to be doing next.”

    — Stewart Mitchell ’18

“Despite the diverse backgrounds between the students in Hungary and our class, we have many things in common. There were also aspects of our classes and individuals that varied that helped those with not as much exposure to diversity develop some new skills. Additionally, the kinks with technology and taught me and several other students how to be a bit more patient (I hope).”

    — Samantha Heydt ’18

“People are people no matter where in the world they're located, and anyplace can be home if you make it home. I expected Hungary to feel like a foreign land full of unfamiliar faces and an impenetrable language barrier, but it turns out it's much easier to communicate with people than you realize, even when you speak completely different languages. Also, starting out in Budapest was nice, because it felt like it could have been a big city in the U.S. It made me realize we're all a lot closer to each other than we think. The trip definitely made it easier to imagine how people all over the world live, and to empathize with the issues that they face.”

    — Stewart Mitchell ‘18