National Collegiate Honors Council


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From Internationalizing Honors, ed. Kim Klein and Mary Kay Mulvaney (Lincoln, NE: National Collegiate Honors Council, 2020)


Copyright © 2020 National Collegiate Honors Council


Note: An earlier version of this chapter was published in Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad (vol. 29, no. 1, 2017, pp. 46–67). This essay appears with permission of that journal and in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution License Agreement. This reprint includes an Afterword that briefly explains three international education initiatives that evolved from the original findings of this study.

“Study abroad enables students to experience an interconnected world and to embrace difference rather than being threatened by it; it shows them the collective heritage of mankind” (Wolfensberger 281). Indeed, study abroad is often thought to be one of the most effective of experiential learning opportunities, one of the socalled “High-Impact Educational Practices” or “HIPs.” These HIPs, articulated in the widely cited AAC&U-sponsored 2008 study led by George Kuh, and expanded upon with follow-up assessment data in 2013, of course, build upon the early theoretical framework of John Dewey, Clifford Geertz, Lev Vygotsky, and numerous others in the subsequent decades who recognized the value of experiential learning (Braid; Kolb; Strikwerda; and others). Not surprisingly, our assessment-driven environment, aimed at creating and sustaining the optimum educational conditions for student success within and beyond the classroom, increasingly emphasizes analysis of learning outcomes from these unconventional practices. Numerous studies have been conducted confirming the personal, professional, and societal value of study abroad for undergraduates by international educators, researchers, and major study abroad providers such as International Education of Students (IES), School for International Training (SIT), and International Student Exchange Programs (ISEP). Journal articles have also appeared documenting relatively small-scale studies on the nature and impact of study abroad. Some align with current trends in educational assessment focusing upon student learning outcomes of a specific study abroad program (see Doyle; Williams; Braskamp et al.; Kilgo et al.); some focus on the impact of logistical differentials such as location, duration, pre-and post-prep and/or debriefing sessions (see Rexeisen et al.; Engle; Dean and Jendzurski; Camarena and Collins); some on discussions of broadening intercultural competencies and awareness or developing attributes of global citizenry (see Kurt et al.; Shadowen et al.; Wolfensberger); others on career impact and professional development (see Franklin; DeGraaf et al.; Dwyer); and so forth.