Experiential Learning Example

Example of past Experiential Learning application

Below is an example of well-created past Experiential Learning application. Notice how the example show complete and thoughtful effort in addressing each prompt. The example is not meant to be used as a template for your own application.

Experiential Learning Project Example

CHID Prague Study Abroad

Student Name: Ella-Jolie Foskett
Experiential Learning Category: International Engagement
Associated UW Course (if applicable):


For the fall quarter of my junior year I will be studying abroad in Prague, Czechia. I will be living in the city of Prague for ten weeks, and during my time here I plan to immerse myself in the culture and try as many new things as possible.This is a 15 credit study abroad program and I will be taking three courses, CHID 471 A/HSTEU 490 East European Communism and Everyday Life, CHID 471 B/POLS 495 Democracy and its Discontents in Central and Eastern Europe, and CHID 390 Colloquium in the History of Ideas: Collective Memory, Civil Society and Public Space. The description for CHID 390 contains the quote, “History is not a mere reflection of the past but a very conscious production of the present ways of seeing and interacting with the past. ” . This quote fascinates me because I am very interested in the production and management of knowledge. The way we learn history is not just about shaping the way we see the past, but about how we see and interact with our institutions and cultures today. Our reality is shaped by history, but history isn’intangible, so therefore it is the memories and artifacts of people and cultures that shape the way we interact with the world we build upon. My primary goal of this study abroad program is to gain new understandings and perspectives of the way our world has been shaped and the ways in which we are continually altering it. Growing up in the U.S. has given me a western mindset and outlook. Because of this I understand that the way in which history has been presented to me in the past is heavily influenced by the ideals a certain government and culture are trying to uphold. I have been taught to see the world in a dichotomy of West and East, North and South, good and evil.I want to see the history and cultures of the world from a new perspective, one without political motives or bias. During this trip I will commit to seeking out perspectives of different origins in order to further my my ways of understanding.

In your own words, define ‘international engagement’. What past experience do you have with engaging in cultures or communities that you are not a part of?

International involvement means immersing oneself in the culture, history, and daily lives of a place in which you are an outsider. When I first read this question I began to stress because I could not think of significant engagement I had had with other communities or cultures. If asked, I honestly don’t think I could name or describe a community or culture I call my own. I grew up without any community based in location, religion, or ethnicity. As a result I was always so jealous of my friends who had these beautiful support systems of love that they got to interact with. I was fortunate enough to have friends that were comfortable inviting me into their communities from a young age. I am so thankful to have grown up around a diverse group of people who wanted to share their lives and culture with me. I got to see the ways in which my friends were supported and loved by an entire group of people and the ways this enhanced their lives and carried them through difficult times. I also saw the struggles they went through when a community was not excepting of a certain part of them. Communities are such powerful influences on individuals, and for better or worse produce culture through making something bigger than any single individual. I always have felt a slight hole in my identity when I compare myself to those who come from strong cultures and communities. But even though I myself do not belong to any specific community, I have found that when invited in, whether it be a religious space, a national community, or an ethnic practice, I have always been welcomed with open arms and patiently taught about the significance of what I am experiencing. Being from San Francisco, this often entailed immersion in spaces of the city that were produced as results of various cultures and communities. I am incredibly grateful to have grown up in a place, surrounded by people, who were incredibly welcoming and loving, even extending the teachings and love of their cultures to me.

Why did you choose to engage in this activity? Why is international engagement valuable?

I once has a professor say “we are all victims of our culture”. I very much felt like this quote explained my place within the U.S. I constantly find myself fighting my initial thoughts and reactions that I recognize as societally conditioned. The older I get the better I get at parsing out what comes from my ideals and what comes from societies, if you can even argue that these are ever two different things. By residing in any given country, state, or city we are constantly being informed about the way the world works and our place within it, These ideas obviously carry the bias of the political and cultural landscape of the location. International engagement is important as it allows us to expose ourselves to other places and their cultures and immerse into these spaces in a way that allows you to witness the the varying messages our societies give us about the place you are visiting, as well as the space you call home. I chose this program specifically because I understand the amount of bias and propaganda my education has contained about the “west” and “east” and their complex relationship. I have never been to a formerly communist country, and I have always been incredibly curious about how these societies look post communism in juxtaposition to the ideas I have been given about how they might look. The Czech Republic offers a rich view into history and its interaction with the present. Having been occupied by Nazi Germany and then going through Stalinist communism, they offer a unique perspective on how history produces the current day and how we memorialize it to tell specific stories.

What tangible skills or experience do you hope to grow during this activity? How does this activity connect to your coursework? How does it speak to your educational, professional, or personal goals?

During this program I want to improve my ability to enter spaces I may not be comfortable in and fully engage. I am often a shy, anxious person, and I find that this sometimes gets in the way of me fully immersing in a space or activity. I hope to gain experiences of putting myself in spaces where I am not initially comfortable, but can still find a way to navigate and get the most, educationally, culturally, and personally, out of every experience. This program is incredibly relevant to my course work as my current dream job is rehabilitation work with people released from prison. This will entail competently working within communities that I am not familiar with, and I hope that my time abroad will help prepare me and teach me how to approach these situations. Additionally, I am very interested in work within the international human rights community, with special focus on how to hold powerful countries accountable for their crimes. This program is extremely focused on human rights and goes into great detail about the history leading up to the formation of international institutions, such as the UN. I hope this will build a strong foundation on the topic for me and provide necessary context to understand the issues I might be dealing with. Thus far my college education has taught me a great deal about the differences between the ideals of human rights and the way in which they have been employed. The focus has very much been on the way human rights and the UN have shaped the modern world, and the consequences of a western dominated power hierarchy. I believe this program will offer valuable alternative insight into how the institution came to be and the work it does from the perspective of a small, formerly communist state, rather than a world superpower.

What messages did you receive growing up about the United States? What is your relationship to the label ‘American’? How might this relationship influence your experience abroad?

I can remember being a child and thinking about how lucky I was to be American. I grew up in a very liberal environment, so it wasn’t necessarily red neck propaganda about freedoms and liberties I was being fed, but there was a very positive sentiment about our strong democracy. It was the early days of Obama’s presidency and the Berkeley area in which I grew up celebrated this fact as a personal triumph. I was five, I didn’t know anything about politics, but I knew the adults around me were happy with our country, proud of our democracy and all the opportunity it carried. Then came 2016 and any illusions I had about the magnificence of my country quickly disappeared. Still though, all the way up until college, I saw a couple evil people abusing power and democratic institutions, but could never see the actual cracks in the system. Once I got to college and had a re-education of sorts, I learned that this freedom of opportunity I felt as a child, the freedom I believed the right people in our institutions could bring back, was predicted on the lack of opportunity and abuse other communities around the world faced. “You are there because we are here” was a hard hitting sentiment for me and completely altered my relationship to the identity “American”. I was not at all proud to be American and felt immense guilt for the luxuries I experienced in my “liberal democracy”. As a result, I began to not identify with the term American citizen. I was a citizen of my city, the physical space in which I was, but past this the rest of the U.S. felt foreign and not a country I would want to claim. I now think of myself as a global citizen due to the interconnected nature of the modern world. My actions impact the globe, not just Americans, and as such I should be thinking on a global scale. I hope this will influence me to find commonalities with the place and people of the foreign country in which I will reside, even if we seem to live vastly different lives.


Student Name: Blake Jackson
Experiential Learning Category: Leadership
Associated UW Course (if applicable): MICROM 302 B


I will lead a laboratory section as a TA for MICROM 302. As a TA I will be responsible for giving the pre-lab lecture at the start of each class, demonstrating proper laboratory techniques, writing quiz questions, grading quizzes, and ensuring the safety and learning of my students. MICROM 302 is the general microbiology lab course for non-microbiology majors. The class is mainly taken by pre-nursing and pre-med students and as such, this is their first experience in a microbiology lab. The labs themselves are also often hectic as most days have many different experiments going on at the same time. It will be my job to effectively guide my students so that they can complete all their experiments efficiently while adhering to proper lab safety and technique. Concepts covered in MICROM 302 and experiments done include gram staining, isolation of bacteria, DNA transformation, antibiotic susceptibility, isolation and titering of bacteriophage, and quorum sensing of luminescent bacteria. Although I am not a TA for MICROM 301, the accompanying lecture course for general microbiology for non-majors, I will be responsible for proctoring exams in MICROM 301 as well. Being a TA for MICROM 302 will allow me to demonstrate my knowledge of microbiology and laboratory skills. Working in a microbiology lab has been the most valuable experience I have done as an undergrad and I am excited to teach other students about the world of microbiology lab work.

In your own words, define ‘leadership’. What are the traits of a leader? What past experience do you have with leadership?

Leadership is the capability of someone to effectively organize or direct a group of people to achieve a common task that by themselves would be much more difficult to complete. A leader should be direct with what goals they hope to achieve and how to achieve them, be able to properly communicate with the people they direct and listen to their perspectives, and be fair in terms of the work they expect and in how they treat the people that depend on them.
I am also currently a co-president of an RSO on campus, Off Leash News. I am responsible, along with my fellow leadership team, for organizing club events and meetings. This past summer we were able to organize a dawg daze live show with two other RSOs on campus which was a success.

Why did you choose to engage in this leadership activity? Why is leadership valuable?

I chose to be a TA because I find the idea of teaching microbiology very rewarding. I’ve always enjoyed being able to explain microbiology topics to my friends and family who have no prior experience with microbiology. Being a TA allows me the opportunity to teach and explain microbiology to other people in a more formal and organized fashion.
Leadership is valuable because it allows someone to effectively organize a team of people. People can often accomplish more when they work as a unit or when they are guided correctly. Leadership allows for people and work to be optimized to the best of their capabilities so that all parties involved accomplish as much as possible.

What tangible skills or experience do you hope to grow during this activity? How does this activity connect to your coursework? How does it speak to your educational, professional, or personal goals?

I hope to be a better lecturer and teacher as a result of being a TA for MICROM 302. Every lab period starts with a pre-lab lecture that I give to all my students. Giving a good lecture is a skill that is best honed by doing. I also believe the best way to know if you understand a topic is by trying to teach it to someone else. Explaining a concept to someone requires intimate knowledge of a subject. I hope by teaching throughout the quarter I will be able to identify where my personal gaps in knowledge are. I am also planning on applying to PhD programs this fall in microbiology. As a grad student, I will also have to TA so I hope I can learn how to be an effective TA as an undergrad before even starting grad school.

What are the responsibilities or challenges of taking on a leadership role? What are the impacts of positive or negative leadership? How can leaders ensure their impact is positive?

As a leader, you are not only responsible for yourself but also for the people who look to you for guidance. A leader can come in many forms and with different titles, be it as the CEO of a company, president of a club, a teacher, or a myriad of other positions. In each of those scenarios, people (employees, club members, students) rely on their leader for guidance and organization.
A good or bad leader can in many cases determine the quality of an organization. The difference between a good or bad teacher can either make a mundane class exciting or an exciting class miserable. Bad leadership is almost synonymous with lazy leadership. A bad leader is someone who is not dynamic, and not willing to listen to the people around them. They are not willing to compromise or communicate. This type of leadership results in people feeling neglected or taken advantage of. Work feels aimless and much less is accomplished than was anticipated.
A good leader is someone who engages with the people around them and is dynamic enough to respond to a variety of situations. A good leader is aware of what’s happening to their team or project, listens to the concerns and ideas of the people whom they work with, and can communicate with the entire team. The easiest way a leader can accomplish this is simply by listening and being receptive to others. They also need to be willing to take action when needed and to be able to admit when they are wrong. A good leader sees themselves as an equal member of a collective effort where all parties work together to succeed.