Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:The Modern Day Study Abroad Experience: Truths in Recruitment and Research
Author(s):Anth411 07-25
Subject(s):Study Abroad
Abstract:The Study Abroad Office has a goal of nearly doubling the percentage of students who study abroad from University of Illinois. In an effort to create those figures (thus more funds for the university and credit from the university community), student goals are ignored. Expectations are heightened so as to attract the most number of participants which leaves satisfaction by the wayside and many unhappy students returning home. There are several easy ways to alleviate this dissatisfaction and unrealistic expectations which all involve being more forthright about the study abroad programs as well as a self-reflection on of the part of the Study Abroad Department at U of I. Conducting interviews of past participants, future study abroad students and gathering information from the SAO are part of my current and most recent research methods. Also, I have compiled personal statements and a visual ethnography via photographs expressing students' overall experience abroad. Expectations are the key to why so many study abroad trips are not successful. Eliminating false pretenses will lead to a better experience and hopefully even to better international relations between the US and abroad, as well as to creating enlightened global citizens.
Issue Date:2008-02-15
Course / Semester:ANTH 411: Methods for Sociocultural Anthropology, Prof. Nancy Abelmann. This course introduced students to a variety of ethnographic methods. Students tried their hand at some of these methods through a focused project. I had students think about their semester-long work as "pilot research"; although they did write up a short paper on their findings (their "discuss" section of the database), the culminating assignment was a research proposal in which they envision building on their preliminary findings in a longer/larger project. In the beginning of the semester, students did some warm-up exercises not directly related to their projects (an observation, an analysis of a university document, and an interview) -- some students elected to remove these from their databases while others left them in because of their connection to the final project. Students' "question" and "plan" sections of the database include multiple entries as I encouraged them to continue to refine these over the course of the semester in dialogue with their own emerging findings. I also asked students to search both the U of I Student Life and Cultures Archives and well as this EUI IDEALS collection to find archives relevant to their pilot/proposed research. All students were asked to "reflect" on the research experience and to make "recommendations" to the University on the basis of their research findings. The course syllabus is available at:
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-02-15

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Student Learning
    This collection examines student learning both in and beyond the classroom.
  • Globalization and the University
    This collection examines the influence of globalization on the university and the university's place in a burgeoning world market for higher education.

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