Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, Department of


First Advisor

Nathan W. Conner

Date of this Version


Document Type



A dissertation presented to the faculty of the Graduate College at the University of Nebraska in partial fulfillment of requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Major: Human Sciences (Leadership Studies)

Under the supervision of Professor Nathan W. Conner

Lincoln, Nebraska, December 2019


Copyright 2019, Jeanette Milius


The impact of global citizenship is far-reaching and encompasses skills and outcomes beyond simple economic and business success. Enhancing all students’ knowledge and ability to navigate a global community is not just of interest to governmental units, policymakers, and global organizations, but also to universities who wish to adhere to accreditation standards. The purpose of this phenomenological study is to identify characteristics related to an individuals’ motivation to complete a short-term study abroad (one to three weeks in duration) and the impact that experience had on their personal and leadership growth. Eighteen self-identified leaders enrolled in a college degree or certification program from across the United States agreed to participate in this qualitative study, sharing experiences on overcoming short-term study abroad barriers, as well as the personal and leadership growth attained from completing the short-term study abroad program.

Overall, findings indicated that regardless of a participants age, degree/certification, geographical location or level of past or current leadership, by overcoming potential barriers connected to a short-term study abroad experience, the first-hand knowledge attained from his or her participation provided value and benefits personally, as well as informing and influencing his or her current leadership as well as the impact toward future leadership. Specifically, participants shared their personal growth, which included an increase in self-efficacy, knowledge and appreciation for other people and cultures, being more mindful and open-minded, and greater cultural awareness attained through first-hand experiences that mitigated stereotypes and preconceived biases. Leadership was informed and influenced by the increase of knowledge and awareness of being inclusive, open-minded to global perspectives and differing viewpoints, as well as building teams, empowering others, and sharing leadership. This paper contributes to an existing body of knowledge concerning barriers of participating in short-term study abroad experiences, but by being motivated to overcome those barriers, personal growth occurred. This study provides new knowledge regarding the impact short-term study abroad has on influencing and informing leadership, a topic underrepresented current literature. The impact this study will have is value for all stakeholders working in a global context.

Advisor: Nathan W. Conner