Market-based, Universalist, and Emancipatory Logics of Study Abroad


  • Rosa Maria Acevedo University of Texas at Austin



Barriers, critical race theory, intersectional identities, minoritized students, study abroad


The study abroad experiences of low-income ethnoracially minoritized students contribute to, challenge, and extend our understanding of the social and academic effects of study abroad in higher education. The purpose of this contribution is to examine how and to what extent scholarship within the field of international higher education discusses ethnoracial and class disparities in study abroad. This conceptual article presents a typology, a thematic sorting of themes in the literature of three distinct approaches to the study and practice of study abroad. The article problematizes market-based and universalist approaches to study abroad and adopts Critical Race Theory and intersectional lenses to identify the structural constraints and interpersonal challenges that low-income ethnoracially minoritized students contend with.


Abstract in Spanish

Las experiencias de estudio en el extranjero de estudiantes de grupos etnorraciales minoritarios de bajos ingresos contribuyen a, desafían y amplían nuestra comprensión de los efectos sociales y académicos del estudio en el extranjero en la educación superior. El propósito de esta contribución es examinar cómo y en qué medida la investigación dentro del campo de la educación superior internacional discute las disparidades etnorraciales y de clase en el estudio en el extranjero. Este artículo conceptual presenta una tipología, una clasificación temática de temas en la literatura de tres enfoques distintos para el estudio y la práctica del estudio en el extranjero. El artículo problematiza los acercamientos universalistas y orientados hacia el mercado para estudiar en el extranjero, y adopta teoría crítica racial e interseccional para identificar las restricciones estructurales y los desafíos interpersonales con los que se enfrentan los estudiantes de grupos etnorraciales minoritarios de bajos ingresos.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Rosa Maria Acevedo, University of Texas at Austin

Rosa Maria Acevedo is a Postdoctoral Fellow at The University of Texas at Austin in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy. In this role, Rosa is supporting a study examining racial equity and free-college program policy design. Rosa received her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development with a specialization in Intercultural and International Education at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.


Acevedo, R.M. (2021). Crossing a broad divide: Enacting educational mobility justice in study abroad. [Doctoral dissertation, University of Minnesota]. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.

Acevedo, R.M. (2022). Ideational obstructions to mobility justice in U.S. study abroad, Mobilities. DOI:

Adkins, R. & Messerly, B. (2019). Toward decolonizing education abroad. In E. Brewer & A. C. Ogden (Eds.), Education abroad and the undergraduate experience (pp. 73-91). Stylus. DOI:

American Association of University Women. (2019). Black women & the pay gap.

Annamma, S. A., Jackson, D. D., & Morrison, D. (2017). Conceptualizing color-evasiveness: Using dis/ability critical race theory to expand a color-blind racial ideology in education and society. Race Ethnicity and Education, 20(2), 147-162. DOI:

Association of International Educators. (2003). Securing America's future: Global education for a global age. A report of the strategic task force on education abroad, 2003. Retrieved from: ource_Library_Assets/Public_Policy/securing_america_s_future.pdf

Baker, P. S., & Talbot, S. (2016). Even the dirt is dangerous: Racism in U.S. American study abroad programs. In Stead, V. (Ed.) RIP Jim Crow: Fighting racism through higher education policy, curriculum, and cultural interventions (Equity in higher education theory, policy, & praxis; v. 6) (pp. 405-417). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Bandyopadhyay, S. & Bandyopadhyay, K. (2015). Factors influencing student participation in college study abroad programs. Journal of International Education Research, 11(2), 87–94. DOI:

Bashi, V. (2004). Globalized anti-blackness: Transnationalizing western immigration law, policy, and practice. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 27(4), 584–606. DOI:

Bean, F. (2018). Growing U.S. ethnoracial diversity: A positive or negative societal dynamic? The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 677(1), 229–239. DOI:

Bell, A., Bhatt, R., Rubin, D. L., & Shiflet, C. (2023). Effects of education abroad on indices of student success among racial–ethnic minority college students. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 16(2), 226–235. DOI:

Bell, D. A. (1992). Faces at the bottom of the well: The permanence of racism. New York: Basic Books. Bonilla-Silva. (2018). Racism without racists: color-blind racism and the persistence of racial inequality in America. (Fifth edition.). Rowman & Littlefield.

Benitez, M., Jr. (2010). Resituating culture centers within a social justice framework: Is there room for examining whiteness? In L. D. Patton (Ed.), Culture centers in higher education: Perspectives on identity, theory, and practice (pp. 119–134). Stylus DOI:

Bernal, D. D. (2002). Critical race theory, Latino critical theory, and critical raced gendered epistemologies: Recognizing students of color as holders and creators of knowledge. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 105. DOI:

Bhabha, H. K. (2004). The location of culture. London: New York: Routledge.

Bhatt, R., Bell, A., Rubin, D., Shiflet, C., Hodges, L. (2022). Education abroad and college completion. Research in Higher Education, 63, 987-1014. DOI:

Bonilla-Silva, E. (2018). Racism without racists: Color-blind racism and the persistence of inequality in the United States (5th ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.

Brux, J.M., & Fry, B. (2010). Multicultural students in study abroad: Their interests, their issues, and their constraints. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 508-527. DOI:

Buchanan, T., & Selmon, N. (2008). Race and gender differences in self-efficacy: Assessing the role of gender role attitudes and family background. Sex Roles, 58(11), 822-836. DOI:

Butler, J. (1990). Gender trouble: Feminism and the subversion of identity. New York, NY: Routledge.

Chang, A. (2017). Call me a little critical if you will. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 16(1), 3-23. DOI:

Clay, C. (2022) Unpacking deficit based views of low Black student participation in study abroad and understanding the importance of culturally relevant study abroad programs for HBCU students. In Reimagining Internationalization and International Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (pp. 205–219). Springer International Publishing. DOI:

Collins, P. H. (1998). Fighting words: Black women and the search for justice. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the margins: Intersectionality, identity politics, and violence against women of color. Stanford Law Review, 43, 1241-1279. DOI:

Cubillos, J.H., & Ilvento, T. (2012). The impact of study abroad on students’ self-efficacy perceptions. Foreign Language Annals, 45(4), 494-511. DOI:

Dancy, T. E., Edwards, K. T., & Earl Davis, J. (2018). Historically white universities and plantation politics: Anti-Blackness and higher education in the Black Lives Matter era. Urban Education, 53(2), 176–195. DOI:

DeCuir, J. T., & Dixson, A. D. (2004). So when it comes out, they aren’t that surprised that it is there: Using Critical Race Theory as a tool of analysis of race and racism in education. Educational Researcher, 33(5), 26–31. DOI:

Delgando, R. Stefancic, J. (2001). Critical race theory: An introduction. New York: New York University Press.

Dhamoon, R. (2011). Considerations on mainstreaming intersectionality. Political Research Quarterly, 64(1), 230-243. DOI:

Doerr, N.M. (2018). ‘Global competence’ of minority immigrant students: Hierarchy of experience and ideology of global competence in study abroad. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education. DOI:

Dumas M. J. (2016). Against the dark: Antiblackness in education policy ans discourse. Theory into Practice, 55, 11-19. DOI:

Fry, G. W., Paige, R. M., Jon, J., Dillow, J., & Nam, K. (2009). Study abroad and its transformative power (Occasional Papers on International Educational Exchange No. 32). /research publications/documents/CIEEOccasional Papers32.pdf

Giroux, H.A. (2014). Neoliberalism’s war on higher education. Haymarket Books: ProQuest Ebook.

Glass, C. & Gesing, P. (2021). Critical perspectives on equity and social mobility in study abroad. Interrogating issues of unequal access and outcomes. Routledge. DOI:

Goldoni, F. (2015). Preparing students for studying abroad. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 15(4), 1–20. DOI:

Goldstein, S.B. (2022). Intercultural learning through study abroad. (Elements in Psychology and Culture). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/9781009127011 DOI:

Haas, B.W. (2018) The impact of study abroad on improved cultural awareness: A quantitative review, Intercultural Education, 29(5-6), 571-588. DOI:

Hall, S. (1997). Where is the subject? In S. Hall (Ed.), Representation: cultural representations and signifying practices, 31-56. Milton Keynes: Open University.

Harris, C. I. (1995). Whiteness as property. In K. Crenshaw, N. Gotanda, G. Peller, & K. Thomas (Eds.), Race is...race isn’t: Critical race theory and qualitative studies in education (pp. 7-30). Westview Press.

Harris-Weedman, M. (2022). It takes a village: Holistic emancipatory framework for students of color in study abroad. In: Bista, K., Pinder, A.L. (eds) Reimagining Internationalization and International Initiatives at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. DOI:

Hill Collins, P. (1998). Fighting words: Black women and the search for justice. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Hoffa, W. (2007). A history of U.S. study abroad: Beginnings to 1965. Forum on Education Abroad. Carlisle, PA. DOI:

IIE. (2017). Open Doors 2017 Executive Summary. Institute of International Education. DOI:

IIE. (2019). Open Doors Report on international educational exchange. Institute of International Education.

IIE. (2022). Open Doors Report on international educational exchange. Institute of International Education.

Jon, J., Shin, Y., & Fry, G. (2018). Understanding study abroad participants’ career decisions and perspectives in US higher education. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 1-18. DOI:

Jones, J. & Schmitt, J. (2014). A college degree is no guarantee. Center for Economic and Policy Research.

Ladson-Billings, G. (1998). Just what is critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 11(1), 7-24. DOI:

Lee, J. & Green, Q. (2016). Unique opportunities: Influence of study abroad on black students. Frontiers Journal, 28, 61-77. DOI:

Lörz, M., Netz, N., Quast, H. (2015). Why do students from underprivileged families less often intend to study abroad? Higher Education, 1-22. DOI:

Lu, C., Reddick, R., Dean, D., & Pecero, V. (2015) Coloring up study abroad: Exploring black students’ decision to study in China, Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 52(4), 440-451. DOI:

Lukosius, V., & Festervand, T. (2013). Marketing study abroad programs: A student recruitment model. American Journal of Business Education, 6(5), 483-494. DOI:

Lynn, M., Yosso, T., Solórzano, D., & Parker, L. (2002). Critical race theory and education: Qualitative research in the new millennium. Qualitative Inquiry, 8(1), 3-6. DOI:

M’Balia, T. (2013). The problematization of racial/ethnic minority student participation in U.S. study abroad. Applied Linguistics Review, 4(2), 365-390. DOI:

Malcolm, Z., & Mendoza, P. (2014). Afro-Caribbean international students’ ethnic identity development: Fluidity, intersectionality, agency, and performativity. Journal of College Student Development, 55(6), 595-614. DOI:

Mapp, S. (2012). Effect of Short-Term Study Abroad Programs on Students’ Cultural Adaptability. Journal of Social Work Education, 48(4), 727-737. DOI:

Moradi, B., & Grzanka, P. R. (2017, in press). Using intersectionality responsibly: Toward critical epistemology, structural analysis, and social justice activism. Journal of Counseling Psychology. DOI:

Moreno, R. (2021). Disrupting neoliberal and neocolonial ideologies in U.S. study abroad: From discourse to intervention. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 33(2), 93-109. DOI:

Naidoo, R., & Jamieson, I. (2005). Knowledge in the marketplace: The global commodification of teaching and learning in higher education. In M. Ninnes, P., Hellstén (Ed.), Internationalizing Higher Education (16th ed., pp. 37–51). Dordrecht: Springer. DOI:

National Center for Education Statistics. (2019). The condition of education. Retrieved from

Nguyen-Voges, S. (2015). Revisiting the literature on study abroad participation in Adult and higher education: Moving beyond two decades and two percent. International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 14(1), 57-70.

Nyunt, G., Niehaus, E., & Benavides, M. (2022). A catalyst for learning or reinforcement of inequities: Using a critical hope lens to understand the potential and limitations of short-term study abroad in fostering students’ ability to effectively interact across differences. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. DOI:

Padgett, R. D., Johnson, M. P., & Pascarella, E. T. (2012). First-generation undergraduate students and the impacts of the first year of college: Additional evidence. Journal of College Student Development, 53(2): 243-266. DOI:

Pascarella, E. T., Pierson, C. T., Wolniak, G. C., & Terenzini, P. T. (2004). First-generation college students: Additional evidence on college experiences and outcomes. The Journal of Higher Education, 75(3): 249-284. DOI:

Patterson, A.N., Walker, D., & Bennett, R., III (2022). Contextualized consciousness: The contribution of study abroad to self-understandings of Black male student Travelers. Journal of Negro Education 91(1), 83–100.

Pizarro, M. (1999). "Adelante!": Toward social justice and empowerment. Chicana/o communities and Chicana/o studies. In L. Parker, D. Deyhle, & S. Villenas (Eds.), Race is y race isn’t: Critical Race Theory and qualitative studies in education (pp. 53-81). Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 US 537 (1896). DOI:

Porter, C., Ward, L.W.M., & Patton, L. (2022). Toward understanding COVID-19’s economic impact on Black women in U.S. higher education. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 60(1), 66-80. DOI:

Quan, T., Diao, W., & Trentman, E. (2023). Returning to normal?: Reimagining study abroad and language learning for a sustainable and equitable future. L2 Journal, 15(2). DOI:

Ramírez, G. B. (2013). Learning abroad or just going abroad? International education in opposite sides of the border. Qualitative Report, 18(62), 1-11.

Roy, A., Newman, A., Ellenberger, T., & Pyman, A. (2019). Outcomes of international student mobility programs: A systematic review and agenda for future research. Studies in Higher Education, 44(9), 1630–1644. DOI:

Salisbury, M., Paulsen, M., & Pascarella, E. (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(2), 123-150. DOI:

Shin, M. M., Noh, E. J., & Lee, J. (2018). Study abroad programs as a service convergence: An international marketing approach. Service Business, 12(2), 253–275. DOI:

Simon, J., & Ainsworth, J. (2012). Race and socioeconomic status differences in study abroad participation: The role of habitus, social networks, and cultural capital. ISRN Education, 2012, 21. DOI:

Solórzano, D. G. (1997). Images and words that wound: Critical race theory, racial stereotyping, and teacher education. Teacher Education Quarterly, 24(3), 5-19.

Törrönen, J. (2001). The concept of subject position in empirical social research. Journal for the theory of social behaviour, 31(3): 313-330. DOI:

Tsantir, S. B., & Titus, B. J. (2006). Heritage seeking and education abroad: A case study. IIE Networker Magazine.

Twombly, S. B., Salisbury, M. H., Tumanut, S. D., & Klute, P. (2012). Special issue: Study abroad in a new global century--renewing the promise, refining the purpose. ASHE Higher Education Report, 38(4), 1-152. DOI:

Wanger, S., Minthorn, R., Weinland, K., Appleman, B., James, M., & Arnold, A. (2012). Native American Student Participation in Study Abroad: An Exploratory Case Study. American Indian Culture and Research Journal, 36(4), 127-151. DOI:

Warren, K.C. (2020). Rethinking racial, ethnoracial, and imperial categories: Key concepts in comparative race studies in the history of education. History of Education Quarterly, 60(4), 657–669. DOI:

Watkins Liu, C. (2017). The anti-oppressive value of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality in social movement study. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 4(3), 1-12. DOI:

Wick, D. (2011). Study abroad for students of color: A third space for negotiating agency and identity. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). San Francisco State University, CA.

Wick, D., Willis, T. Y., Rivera, J., Lueker, E., & Hernandez, M. (2019). Assets-based learning abroad: First-generation Latinx college students leveraging and increasing community cultural wealth in Costa Rica. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, XXXI (2), 63-85. DOI:

Wilderson F. B. (2010). Red, white & black: Cinema and the structure of U.S. antagonisms. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI:

Willis, T. Y. (2015). And still we rise: Microaggressions and intersectionality in the study abroad experiences of Black women from community colleges. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26, 209-230. DOI:

Xu, M., De Silva, C. R., Neufeldt, E., Dane, J. H. (2013). The impact of study abroad on academic success: An analysis of first-time students entering old Dominion University, Virginia. 2000-2004. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 23, 90-103. DOI:

Yosso, T. (2005). Whose culture has capital? A critical race theory discussion of community cultural wealth. Race Ethnicity and Education, 8, 69–91. DOI:

Young, I. (1990). Justice and the politics of difference. Princeton University

Zamudio, M., Russell, C., Rios, F., & Bridgement, J. (2011). Critical race theory matters: education and ideology. Routledge. DOI:




How to Cite

Acevedo, R. (2023). Market-based, Universalist, and Emancipatory Logics of Study Abroad. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 35(3), 151–174.



Research Articles