Study Abroad and the Boomerang Effect: The End is Only the Beginning

  • Richard J. Rexeisen
Keywords: Study abroad, Intercultural development inventory, Boomerang effect, Outcomes assessment, Gender differences, Cross-cultural sensitivity


A growing body of evidence indicates that study abroad has a positive impact on a student’s cross-cultural development.  This study extends the findings of previous research by exploring the durability of changes to cross-cultural development four months after returning home.  Results indicate that overall gains achieved while abroad decline significantly after returning home and specifically decline with regard to viewing other cultures as superior to the student’s native culture (reversal tendencies). The research also finds significant gender differences.  Implications for educators and future research are discussed.


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Author Biography

Richard J. Rexeisen

Richard Rexeisen is a Professor of Marketing at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. He has 30 years of experience in higher education including various administrative and faculty leadership roles. His research focuses on assessing the impact of study abroad on the development of cross-cultural sensitivity, ethical and moral reasoning as well as attitudes towards the physical environment. He has conducted several longitudinal studies using the IDI, Forsyth’s ethical questionnaire and Dunlap’s new ecological paradigm. His results and implications are framed with specific attention to outcomes assessment and assurance of learning.


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How to Cite
Rexeisen, R. J. (2013). Study Abroad and the Boomerang Effect: The End is Only the Beginning. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 22(1), 166-181.