Talking with ‘Others’: Experiences and perspective transformation in a short-term study abroad program
Keywords:study abroad, intercultural sensitivity, transformative learning, perspective transformation, Intercultural development
With the growth of short-term study abroad programs comes the need to develop impactful curricula and to provide supportive environments for deep learning abroad that is more than “upgraded” tourism but rather focused on educational outcomes. This qualitative case study investigates the experiences of five study abroad participants in Israel. Drawing from multiple data sources within an interpretive framework, the purpose of this study is to understand student experiences abroad. Data was analyzed inductively and thematically. Findings suggest that the holistic experience was anchored by (1) directed and diverse conversations, (2) hermeneutical reflections, (3) emotional disequilibrium, (4) intercultural competence development, and (5) student engagement in a classroom culture, which acted together as a gestalt. Results highlight the importance of dialogue, both with locals and within the classroom community, for transformative learning. These findings encourage international educators to provide instructional frames that encourage students to engage with local communities in critical ways.
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