“Experiential Learning” Is What Faculty Makes of It: Creating New Models of Understanding for Experiencing and Interpreting on Faculty-Led Short-Term Study Abroad Programs


  • Jennifer Ostojski Colgate University
  • Carl Cilke Northeastern University




Experiential learning, experiential pedagogy, faculty-led, short-term, study abroad


Short-term faculty-led study abroad programs have gained in popularity amongst undergraduate students in the United States (IIE 2022). Yet, little research has investigated how educators on these programs perceive experiencing and interpreting, even though they constitute two key modules in experiential learning. Through semi-structured interviews with faculty at Generic University on how they conceive of experiencing and interpreting, the authors conclude that there is little commonality on those concepts. This divergence leads to different experiential learning study abroad programs. The authors place faculty interpreting and experiencing on a spectrum of understanding and demonstrate how that influences the pedagogical design of their study abroad program models. From the faculty members’ conceptions, the authors create two program models, which they have coined “Mobile Classroom Model” (MC) and “Home Base Model” (HB). The purpose of this article is to begin a conversation about how scholarship fails to address the lack of universality in the concept of experiential learning.


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Author Biographies

Jennifer Ostojski, Colgate University

Jennifer Ostojski, PhD, is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the department of Political Science at Colgate University. She received her doctoral degree from Northeastern University. Her research focuses on International Relations, European Studies, and the Science of Teaching and Learning. She is part of the editorial team at the Active Learning in Political Science blog as well as the journal EuropeNow.

Carl Cilke, Northeastern University

Carl Cilke is a PhD Candidate in the department of Political Science at Northeastern University. He holds an MA in International Relations from American University. His research is focused on U.S. Foreign Policy and National Security.


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How to Cite

Ostojski, J., & Cilke, C. (2023). “Experiential Learning” Is What Faculty Makes of It: Creating New Models of Understanding for Experiencing and Interpreting on Faculty-Led Short-Term Study Abroad Programs. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 35(3), 175–200. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v35i3.628



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