The Effects of Affect on Study Abroad Students
By definition, study abroad students are faced with acculturative stress by virtue of encountering differences in assumptions, values, and expectations of daily living in their host culture. "Dynamic disequilibrium" may allow students to unfreeze their typical mindsets in order to encourage alternate points of view. However, a somewhat unexamined question concerns the consequences for students when disequilibrium edges over into discontent, distress or dejection. The current study examines the study abroad experience of students with different levels of affect as a result of their study abroad sojourn. Students with less positive and more negative affect show higher problematic stress appraisals, more psychological symptoms and less satisfaction. In addition they used their host culture language less, reported more difficulty in adapting to their host culture, and showed lower evaluation of their national identity. Precursors to these outcomes are suggested. A growing need to address affective issues is outlined. Potential program design issues are mentioned to accommodate to lower affective responses.
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