Leslie P. Hitch
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department or Academic Unit
College of Professional Studies, Department of Education
education, higher education, intercultural communication, intercultural competence, intercultural sensitivity, short-term study abroad
This quantitative study measured the extent to which short-term study abroad programs increase levels of intercultural competence and openness to diversity among undergraduate students, and found that all participants' levels of intercultural competence and openness to diversity increased after participating in these programs. As part of its mission, strategic plan, and internationalization initiatives, many higher education institutions claim to graduate students who are "interculturally competent" and/or "open to diversity", yet have no concrete way of demonstrating that these initiatives are being met. Through quantitative measurement, this study shows that short-term study abroad programs are one effective approach to reaching these institutional objectives. Moreover, the control group data show us that these research findings can be applied to a general undergraduate student population, not just to those who self-selected to participate in short-term study abroad. Finally, this study found that students who have been exposed to diversity and cultural differences prior to their sojourns abroad, generally increase levels of intercultural competence in more areas than those students who have had little to no previous intercultural exposure. Therefore, in order for students to get the most out of their short-term study abroad experiences, the results of this study suggest institutions require students to enroll interculturally-focused courses and/or other cross-cultural experiences on campus prior to studying abroad.
Lombardi, Marissa, "A study on students’ intercultural learning through short-term study abroad programs" (2011). Education Doctoral Theses. Paper 20. http://hdl.handle.net/2047/d20002389
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