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ERIC Number: EJ891463
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Aug
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Why Are They Better Students when They Come Back? Determinants of Academic Focusing Gains in the Study Abroad Experience
Hadis, Benjamin F.
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v11 p57-70 Aug 2005
International educators in general, and study abroad advisors in particular, have recognized for many years that United States college students returning from studying abroad show positive changes. According to their impressionistic perceptions, international educators often identify improvements in terms of concern about international affairs, appreciation of different cultures, maturation, self-awareness and independence. Much of the research literature on the impact of study abroad on US college students coincides with those impressionistic perceptions and finds that participants in study abroad programs acquire global-mindedness, grow intellectually, and develop personally. When researchers find no evidence of gains on the part of study abroad students, they acknowledge that their samples are too small to detect statistical significance. Research has also identified various kinds of second language acquisition gains--especially in listening and comprehension abilities--for students who study abroad in non-English speaking countries. With few exceptions, academic impacts other than linguistic ones have not been dealt with extensively in the research literature on gains from studying abroad. Many faculty and study abroad advisors who chat with their students returning from study abroad experiences will recognize that one of the most noticeable changes in these students is a higher than average curiosity and interest in academic matters. As they become more interested in academic issues, participants are less often distracted by non-academic, age-related stimuli. Some educators refer to this process as a sign of maturation, and rightly so. The issue, though, is to find out whether (and how) studying abroad contributes to this process of academically-oriented maturation. This article explores the cluster of experiences that participants in study abroad go through--both during their sojourn abroad and immediately upon return--and how these experiences enhance shifts in their individual priorities. The author discusses to what extent, and why, some study abroad participants bring their academic endeavors to the forefront of their interests when they return to their home colleges. Since the experiences of study abroad program participants are many, eye opening, and quite complex, this article also explores the intricate and multiple determinations of the changes in the participants. With the help of multiple regression and path analyses the author lays out a model that charts those changes, their consequences, and mutual determinations. (Contains 4 tables and 1 figure.)
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 - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A