Assessing Language Acquisition and Intercultural Sensitivity Development in Relation to Study Abroad Program Design


  • Lilli Engle
  • John Engle



Intercultural sensitivity, Study Abroad, Program Design, Second Language Acquisition


The complexity of international education is such that it is far from easy to move towards significant, objectively measurable, and comparable outcomes. What follows is the preliminary examination of one attempt to generate and interpret meaningful statistical assessment of the study abroad experience, within the context of specifically defined study abroad program types. We will examine the data thus far generated, suggest its limitations, and appeal for a continued gathering of information. We will suggest a structured, coordinated, profession-wide assessment effort that will, we hope, gradually reveal a useful correlation between study abroad learning and the input of program variables such as duration, housing, experiential work and on-site mentoring. If, as a profession, study abroad is to invest in outcomes assessment, it would be sensible for such efforts to utilize profession-wide definitions and standards.


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Author Biographies

Lilli Engle

Lilli Engle is Co-Founder and on-site Director of the American University Center of Provence in Aix-en-Provence. She has taught at UCLA, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the Université de Provence. She is a member of the Board of Advisers of Experiment in International Living (France) and of the Advisory Council of the Forum on Education Abroad. She has published numerous articles on study abroad program design and recently founded a study abroad program in Marseille devoted to the understanding of Islam.

John Engle

John Engle is Co-Founder of the American University Center of Provence and tenured maître de conférences at the Université du Sud. He has taught at UCLA, Occidental College, Illinois Wesleyan University, and the Université de Provence, and has served as an on-site overseas program director for nearly two decades. He has written extensively on the theoretical and practical aspects of study abroad and on American writers in France.


Hammer, M. R., & Bennett, M. J. (2001). The Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI). Portland, OR: Intercultural Communication Institute.




How to Cite

Engle, L., & Engle, J. (2004). Assessing Language Acquisition and Intercultural Sensitivity Development in Relation to Study Abroad Program Design. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10(1), 219–236.