Ivy Tech Community College requires students in Spanish 101 on-line to conduct an intercultural project. They're encouraged to get out of their comfort zone, and to immerse themselves in Hispanic culture through visiting in someone's home, attending a cultural event or religious service, or interacting through a social networking site.
My students attended a birthday party, a quinceañera, a Cinco de Mayo fiesta, a Latino community cultural event, and a family reunion. Their reports include meaningful observations and a sense of accomplishment, as, after just 8 weeks of on-line Spanish, they've taken the step to immerse themselves in the culture and to use their Spanish language skills in the real world! Students who did some research ahead of time had the best experience, and their papers reflect their interest and their investment of time and energy. This was an excellent project! While some students reported feeling apprehensive at first, they became more comfortable as they stayed and made friends. Several commented that they never would have attended an event like the one they did, but that now that they'd broken the ice, they would be back for sure!