Fieldwork abroad was one of the projects of ENVOIE (University of Groningen, Netherlands)


– Main objectives of the Virtual Exchange

Students from DePaul University (Chicago, Ill., USA) and University of Groningen (NL) have different roles in the VE. For Groningen students it is part of their obligatory fieldwork abroad, which they do in Chicago 3 months after the VE.
Main objective of the Virtual Exchange for both groups of students is to increase their awareness of the importance of integrating local knowledge in research. This works through feedback that the Groningen students receive from DePaul students to improve their research proposals, including reciprocal discussions on this feedback. Implicitly, intercultural communication is practised and experienced by all students.

– Targeted learning outcomes

1) to make students aware of cultural differences (between comparable social groups from different places; students in Groningen respectively Chicago);
2) improve their research proposals.
3) to stimulate longer lasting contacts between the UG and DePaul students, as the UG students would visit Chicago 3 months after the collaboration

– Global task description

UG students prepare for a research project by having 2 video-conferences with students from DePaul University, who function as local consultants. DePaul students read and reflect on these proposals, discuss potential improvements, and link the Groningen proposals to the theoretical discussions in their own geography classes.


Partner / department Course Language of instruction Number of students
DePaul University, Chicago, Ill. United States
College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences
GEO103 urban geography and GEO299 Knowledge, Place and Power English 35
University of Groningen, Netherlands
Faculty of Spatial Sciences
Fieldwork abroad English 35

Start and end date

January 2018 – April 2018 (repeated each year)


3 months


Sociology and cultural studies

Integration and assessment

Students from both sides write a short reflection report, based on a supplied template, about the intercultural communication experienced. Groningen students reflect in their research proposals on how the VE improved their projects. DePaul students reflect on how the VE experiences link up with the theoretical discussions on American urban geographies in their regular classes. These reflections are assessed with rubrics.

Technology tools used

– Learning environment

Learning environment: Groningen: Blackboard; DePaul: D2L Daylight (Brightspace).

– Collaboration tools

Blackboard Collaborate

– Reflection tool