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


Within the expanding field of study abroad scholarship, recent research on honors-based programming indicates an evolving understanding of how the goals of most study abroad programs align with those of honors programs (Camarena and Collins; Frost et al.; Markus et al.). The tradition of incorporating international experiences into honors education is longstanding, and recent descriptions of related programming highlight the diversity of disciplines, locations, aims, and pedagogies across institutions (Mulvaney and Klein ix–x). One common thread, however, is a desire to facilitate not only academic but also intercultural competencies in order to prepare honors students for an increasingly interconnected world. The following institutional case study is an investigation of the impact of a short-term, first-year honors abroad course in Turkey on students’ global-mindedness and intercultural competence. The findings help us understand how the program contributed to student growth in subsequent semesters, how that growth links to important university goals for all students, and how the program contributed to the strengths of the honors program as a whole. Honors international education literature is an important component of the large and growing field of general international education literature. Several large-scale surveys of alumni of higher educational institutions in the United States have demonstrated that study abroad has lasting impact above and beyond other influential components of higher education (e.g., Dwyer and Peters; Paige et al.). In a study conducted by the Institute of International Education (IIE), student participants reported that studying abroad increased their self-confidence, expanded their understanding of intercultural perspectives and issues, and strengthened their academic commitment, especially to foreign language study (Dwyer and Peters 156; Nguyen 22–23). In the Study Abroad for Global Engagement (SAGE) project, Paige and colleagues designed a retrospective tracer study of alumni who had been abroad between 1960 and 2007, with over six thousand who had studied abroad and approximately the same number who did not. Over eighty percent of respondents indicated that study abroad had a strong impact on their lives, far more than any other aspect of their undergraduate experience. Areas of their lives that were influenced included practicing voluntary simplicity, engaging in social entrepreneurship and international civic engagement, and obtaining a graduate degree. These studies reflect wide interest in understanding the depth, breadth, and longevity of benefits for all students who participate in international education through study abroad. It therefore seems natural for honors programs to develop study abroad opportunities because of the potential positive impact of international programs on their student learning outcomes as well as honors program and institutional goals. (See, for example, Frost et al.)