Evaluating the Long-Term Impact of a Taiwanese Study Abroad Program on Participants’ Career Choice and Professional Development

A Convergent Mixed Methods Study


  • Lori Drum University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • Kenan Sualp University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL
  • Su-I Hou University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4519-0974




Study Abroad, Taiwan, Career Choice, Professional Development


A convergent, mixed methods study was used to explore the long-term impact on career choice and professional development in healthcare among Taiwan Study Abroad (TWSA) program participants between 2011 and 2015. Data were analyzed by prior study abroad and travel to Asia experience. We conducted an online survey in 2017 (n=38). Overall, 77-87% of the participants reported high impact on both career choice and professional development. Chi-square analysis showed that those who had not studied abroad before or traveled to Asia prior to the TWSA experience were significantly more likely to report the program had a more direct impact on their career choice. Qualitative data strongly supports the significant impact on both outcomes among all participants.

Abstract in Chinese

這個收斂型混合方法設計研究探討 2011 年至 2015 年間台灣留學 (TWSA) 計劃參與者對醫療保健相關職業選擇和專業發展的長期影響。數據通過之前是否有到國外學習或亞洲旅行經歷進行分析。我們在 2017 年對所有參與者進行了一項參與後的網路問卷調查(n=38)。總體而言,77-87% 的參與者表示(本台灣留學計劃)對職業選擇和職業發展都​​有顯著性影響。卡方分析表明,那些在參與本台灣留學計劃體驗之前沒有出國留學或去過亞洲的人,有更高可能性報告該留學計劃體驗對他們的職業選擇有更直接的影響。定性(質性)資料分析結果也同時強烈支持本台灣留學計劃對參與者的職業選擇和專業發展都有重大影響。


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Lori Drum, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Lori Drum, MA, LMHC. Received her master’s degree in Counselor education from the University of Central Florida in 2005. She is currently in a Ph.D. program in Public Affairs at the University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA.

Kenan Sualp, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Kenan Sualp, PhD, MSW. is a Lecturer and Assessment Coordinator at the University of Central Florida, School of Social Work, Orlando Fl. He has been involved with national and international program evaluation research in multiple settings.  

Su-I Hou, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Su-I Hou, Dr.P.H. is a professor and founding director at the School of Global Health Management and Informatics at College of Community Innovation and Education, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, USA. She also serves as the Health-specialization liaison for the college-wide interdisciplinary PhD program in Public Affairs at UCF. Dr. Hou has been the Founding Director of the Taiwan Study Abroad Program on Asian Culture, Healthcare, & Aging Society at two higher education institutions in the USA, first at the University of Georgia (2011-2015) and now at the University of Central Florida (2016-present). She is a current Fulbright Specialist (2019-2024) and has been invited to conduct MMR training workshops at multiple universities overseas.


Anderson, P.H., Hubbard, A., & Lawton, L. (2015). Student motivation to study abroad and their Intercultural development. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26, 39-52. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v26i1.354

Black, H., & Duhon, D.L. (2006, Jan/Feb). Assessing the impact of business study abroad programs on cultural awareness and personal development. Journal of Education for Business, 81(3), 140-145. https://doi.org/10.3200/JOEB.81.3.140-144

Biraimah, K.L., & Jotia, A.L. (2012). The longitudinal effects of study abroad program on teacher’s content knowledge and perspectives: Fulbright-Hays group projects abroad in Botswana and Southeast Asia, Journal of Studies in International Education, 17(4), 433-454. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315312464378

Bomser, R., Gibson, H. J., & Zhang, H. (2020). Pacific Study Abroad Program’s Impact on Students’ Major and Career Choice. UF Journal of Undergraduate Research, 22.

Creswell, J., & Clark, V.L. (2018). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Dwyer, M. (2004). Charting the impact of studying abroad. International Educator, 13 (1), 14-20.

Franklin, K. (2010). Long-term career impact and professional applicability of the study abroad experience. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 19, 169-190. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v19i1.279

Hadis, B. F. (2005). Why are they better students when they come back? Determinants of academic focusing gains in the study abroad experience. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 11, 57-70.

Hou, S. (2017). A Taiwan study abroad program on aging, culture, and healthcare. Educational Gerontology, 44 (1), 18-27. https://doi.org/10.1080/03601277.2017.1386353

Karakaş, A. (2020). Disciplining transnationality? The impact of study abroad educational experiences on Turkish returnee scholars’ lives, careers and identity. Research in Comparative and International Education, 15(3), 252-272.

Moorhead, B., Boetto, H., & Bell, K. (2014). India and us: Student development of professional social work identify through a short-term study abroad program. Social Work Education, 33(2), 175-189. DOI: 10.1080/02615479.2013.768614

Oh, K., & Nussli, N. (2021). Impact on teachers’ cultural competence? Follow-up interviews eight years after a teaching experience in South Korea. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 21(3), 49-70.

Okken, G. J., Jansen, E. P. W. A., Hofman, W. H. A., & Coelen, R. J. (2019). Beyond the 'welcome-back party': The enriched repertoire of professional teacher behaviour as a result of study abroad. Teaching and Teacher Education, 86, [102927]. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tate.2019.102927

Paige, M. R., Fry, G.W., Stallman, E.M., Josic, J., & Jon, J.E. (2009). Study abroad for global engagement: The long-term impact of mobility experiences. Intercultural Education, 20 (1), 29-44. https://doi.org/10.1080/14675980903370847

Passarelli, A., & Kolb, D. (2011). Using experiential learning theory to promote student learning and development in programs of education abroad. Department of Organizational Behavior, Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University.

Pope, J.A., Sanchez, C. M., Lehnert, K., & Schmid, A.S. (2014). Why do gen Y students study abroad? Individual growth and intent to study abroad. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 25: 97-118. https://doi.org/10.1080/08975930.2014.896232

Salisbury, M. H., Paulsen, M.B., & Pascarella, E.T. (2011). Why do all the study abroad students look alike? Applying an integrated student choice model to explore differences in the factors that influence white and minority students’ intent to study abroad, Research in Higher Education, 52: 123-150. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9191-2

Sharma, A., Marchant, M., Vance, E., Smith, E., Richardson, W., & Hightower, L. (2014, June). National Survey of Study Abroad Programs Conducted in Asia Using the Food and Agriculture Education Information System (FAEIS) Database. North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture, 140-147.




How to Cite

Drum, L., Sualp, K., & Hou, S.-I. (2022). Evaluating the Long-Term Impact of a Taiwanese Study Abroad Program on Participants’ Career Choice and Professional Development: A Convergent Mixed Methods Study. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(1), 24–44. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v34i1.593



Research Articles