Date of this version
Study abroad, intercultural development, global awareness, assessment
College students are placing ever greater value on global awareness and intercultural competence as they enter a workforce where international events have a daily impact on a business’ success (Stebleton, Soria, and Cherney, 2013). As student recognition of the need for improved global competence has risen, participation in study abroad programs has climbed, particularly over the last decade (The Institute for International Education, 2013). With this growth has come a shift from measuring participation rates in study abroad programs to assessing outcomes related to the experience (Rexeisen, 2013). This shift has been driven by the increased institutional costs of these programs (Vande Berg, 2001); increasingly programs are being asked to justify their expense by demonstrating their benefits.
This study examined the relationship between the motivations of students who chose to enroll in a study abroad program and their intercultural development. While leaders, directors and providers of study abroad programs speculate as to the motivations driving students’ decisions to study abroad and on their choice of specific types of study abroad programs, this study provides empirical data on these relationships. Understanding the motivations behind students’ decisions can help provide direction on what programs to offer and on how best to structure those programs to improve students’ intercultural development.
Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad