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ERIC Number: EJ1084536
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Changing Minds: The Impact of Study Abroad Components on Students' Changes in Their Religious Faith
Poag, Trevor; Sperandio, Jill
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v26 p144-166 Fall 2015
Universities increasingly prioritize intercultural learning experiences that prepare students to become competent professionals in an interconnected world (Egron-Polak, 2012; de Witt, 2009). Study abroad represents one such learning experience for U.S. university students. Study abroad programs, although varies in structure and curriculum, share the common characteristic of connecting students to new cultural and educational experiences. Such intercultural learning presents students with opportunities to critically examine and possibly change their perspectives on important issues. In 2003, Engle and Engle created a level-based, hierarchical classification of study abroad programs to highlight the diversity among the programs and provide a means to organize and evaluate the programs. The authors used Engle and Engle's classification system to define the study abroad program in this study, the Latin American Studies Program (LASP). In 2006 Gardner identified seven factors that influence substantive changes of mind, called "levers of change." He proposed that shifts of mind are likely to occur when the seven levers work together to move a group or individual in a new direction. These levers of change correspond to the program components in many study abroad models. Therefore, the authors chose to use Gardner's framework to explore students' perceptions about change in their religious faith as related to their study abroad experience at LASP. Founded in 1986 and operating through its headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica, LASP is one of ten study abroad programs provided by the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). LASP implements a semester-long learning experience that prioritizes the perspectives of its Latin American hosts in the program's curriculum and structure. Three questions guided the research described herein: (1) Do LASP alumni perceive their study abroad experience to have influenced a lasting change of mind about their religious faith? (2) When LASP alumni perceive such a change in their religious faith, how do they describe this change and its consequent actions in their communities and around the world? and (3) When LASP alumni perceive such a change in their religious faith, to which LASP components do they ascribe the change?
Frontiers Journal. Dickinson College P.O. Box 1773, Carlisle, PA 17013. Tel: 717-254-8858; Fax: 717-245-1677; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A