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ERIC Number: EJ1062114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Reference Count: 41
The High Impact of Education Abroad: College Students' Engagement in International Experiences and the Development of Intercultural Competencies
Stebleton, Michael J.; Soria, Krista M.; Cherney, Blythe T.
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v22 p1-24 Win 2012-Spr 2013
Study abroad opportunities continue to be a popular choice for U.S. college students looking to expand their undergraduate education. In response to the increasing demand for international opportunities, campuses have diversified their study abroad program models. On many campuses, students not only have opportunities to study abroad during academic year, semester, and short-term programs, they can also elect to participate in non-credit volunteer, internship, and work abroad programs. In addition to university organized international opportunities, students often have access to informal and recreational travel experiences through connections with student groups, religious organizations, friends, and family. In conjunction with the myriad international opportunities in which students participate, there are also fundamental differences in the cultural experiences offered by each (Engle & Engle, 2003). This multi-institutional study attempts to discover whether different international activities in which students participate yield different outcomes for the development of students' global and intercultural competencies. The research question that guides this inquiry is as follows: controlling for other factors, is participation in these five types of international travel activities associated with different outcomes in students' development of global and intercultural competencies? The five international travel and study abroad measures analyzed include students' participation in a university study abroad program; study abroad program affiliated with another college or university; travel abroad for cross-cultural experiences or informal education; travel abroad for a service learning, volunteer, or work experience; and travel abroad for recreation. The five outcome variables used to measure students' development in global and intercultural competencies include self-reported gains in students' understanding of the complexities of global issues, ability to apply disciplinary knowledge in a global context, linguistic or cultural competency in another language, ability to work with people from other cultures, and comfort working with people from other cultures. This research paper contributes to the scholarly literature related to students' international and study abroad experiences because it examines the differential effects participation in several types of programs has on the development of students' global and intercultural competencies; as such, it provides student affairs practitioners, faculty members, and institutional decision-makers with insights into the types of international and study abroad experiences that provide students with the greatest opportunities for development and engagement.
Descriptors: Study Abroad, Cultural Awareness, International Education, Volunteers, Internship Programs, Travel, Undergraduate Students, Correlation, Outcomes of Education, Student Participation, Informal Education, Service Learning, Work Experience, Second Language Learning, Intercultural Communication, International Cooperation, Educational Experience, Learner Engagement, Student School Relationship, Student Attitudes, Majors (Students), Educational Environment, College Entrance Examinations, Scores, Statistical Analysis, Surveys, Research Universities
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site: http://www.frontiersjournal.com
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A