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Global Pursuits: Student Reflections on Short-term Learning Abroad Experiences

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Title: Global Pursuits: Student Reflections on Short-term Learning Abroad Experiences
Author(s): Hurley, Walter L.
Contributor(s): Sunderman, Judith A., Kesler, Darrel
Subject(s): abroad reflections
Abstract: This research was undertaken to develop a better understanding of how students think about their study abroad experiences. What meaning do students attribute to their international experiences? How can the benefits of international study be more effectively incorporated into the classroom? Global interdependence has created new circumstances requiring educational opportunities that cultivate lasting skill sets applicable to international environments and the ability to appreciate other cultural perspectives. Institutional programming designed to instill international competencies in undergraduates needs to be based on a clear understanding of the nature, durability, and process through which international experiences are integrated into the academic and personal lives of students. To address these questions, an experimental course was developed to gather qualitative data in the form of reflections from students who had participated in learning abroad programs during the previous year. Results of the analysis validated previous research on the four generally recognized categories of study abroad benefits: academic commitment, global perspective, personal development, and career focus. A further finding revealed patterns in the way that students thought about their international experiences and recognized the effects of their experiences. Four patterns in thinking about the personal impact of study abroad were observed: 1) confronting issues of identity and self-understanding; 2) recognizing new knowledge and insights about abilities and competencies; 3) sharing and using new knowledge; 4) integrating new knowledge and understanding into personal identity. These findings reveal the emergence of multicultural perspectives and illustrate the nature of student thinking arising from international experiences.
Issue Date: 2008
Citation Info: Hurley, W., D. Kesler, and J. Sunderman. 2008. Global Pursuits: Student Reflections on Short-term Learning Abroad Experiences. NACTA Journal 52(2):94.
Genre: Conference Poster
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/9629
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed: is peer reviewed
Date Available in IDEALS: 2009-02-25
 

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