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ERIC Number: EJ991094
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 18
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 17
ISSN: ISSN-1085-4568
Meta-Travel: A Critical Inquiry into a China Study Tour
Riggan, Jennifer; Gwak, Sonya; Lesnick, Joy; Jackson, Kara; Olitsky, Stacey
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, v21 p236-253 Fall 2011
Short-term study tours are among the fastest growing of study abroad experiences and serve the largest percentage of students choosing to study abroad. Fifty-six percent of students studying abroad go on short-term study trips lasting anywhere from two to eight weeks. These trips have the advantage of being able to provide study travel experiences to increasingly large numbers of students at the graduate and undergraduate levels because they are cheaper and they are often more convenient and feasible for students. However, these trips are potentially ill-equipped to promote in-depth experiences of another place and culture. As short-term study tours are likely to continue to grow in popularity, it is imperative to look critically at the goals and structures of these programs, not only to explore how participants can have a more intellectually and personally valuable experience, but also to question the political and social implications of short-term study travel. This article questions whether participants on short-term study tours typically allow themselves and their understandings about the world to be transformed by their experiences or if these brief trips only serve to reify and legitimize preconceived notions and stereotypes about the world. Based on an analysis of U.S. graduate students' experiences on a trip to China, the authors argue that short-term study tours have the potential to provide a valuable opportunity for participants to deepen their understanding of themselves and their role in the world. However, they can only do so if a critical reflection component is incorporated in the study tour. In this article, the authors use the case of a study tour to China to propose a framework for reflection during short-term study travel that they call "meta-travel." They explore what they mean by critical reflection and make a case for why critical reflection needs to be a key piece of study travel. They then discuss the case itself and the processes through which they developed this framework. Next, they discuss several critical incidents from the study tour itself and suggest ways in which the framework illuminates hidden lessons in each incident. Finally they conclude with some suggestions for how this framework might be utilized on other study tours. (Contains 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 - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: China