Student Outcomes Associated with Short-term and Semester Study Abroad Programs
Keywords:Experiential, Study abroad, High impact practices, Duration, Education abroad
This five-year study of graduating seniors at Elon University (n=1,858) compared student outcomes measured by the National Survey of Student Engagement across five study abroad groups: no study abroad, semester, short-term (3-week), two short-terms, and semester plus short-term. Both short-term and semester programs were positively associated with how students rate their overall educational experience and whether they would attend the same institution again. However, students who participated in semester programs reported better outcomes in numerous categories: contributing to class discussion, including diverse perspectives in discussions and assignments, synthesis of ideas, less rote memorization of course material, empathy,acquiring a broad general education,critical thinking,and working effectively with others. There was less compelling evidence of better outcomes from a second short-term program or one taken in addition to a semester program. Overall, short-term programs clearly have value, but semester programs are associated with significantly better outcomes overall.
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