From Study Abroad to Global Studies: Reconstructing International Education for a Globalized World
Study abroad has become a substantial enterprise as educators embraced the idea that learning about other cultures is a critical component of becoming an educated person, succeeding at work, and serving as an effective citizen (Bok, 2006). Many students report that study abroad has been a transformative life experience and studies now show that study abroad is positively related to student persistence and success, and liberal educators purport that it is an essential element of learning for personal and social responsibility (Association of American Colleges & Universities.). In some important ways, though, the educational value of study abroad today does not seem to be dramatically different than what I got from my first college trips. Beyond my own experience, scholarly assessments have concluded that the empirical evidence for the effects of study abroad is weak (Pascarella and Terenzini). In this article, I attempt to understand this apparent lack of real progress and impact in study abroad and how we can transcend its limitations. I will address these issues from a broad perspective, focusing on defining structures and central tendencies, not specific activities or programs.
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