This study examines a relatively new phenomenon in study abroad: the practice of intervening in students' intercultural learning during their experience abroad. In this paper, I refer to this type of intentional and focused action taken by educators to facilitate student learning abroad as a `study abroad intervention.' This study focuses specifically on a study abroad intervention that is taught on-site while students are participating in a semester abroad. Created and implemented by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the Seminar on Living and Learning Abroad (`the Seminar') is a for-credit intercultural seminar that is offered at numerous CIEE sites around the world. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, study abroad interventions currently in existence.
This mixed-methods case study not only examines the outcomes of participation in the Seminar on Living and Learning Abroad, but it also explores the process involved in facilitating students' intercultural development through such a course. The researcher visited two sites where the Seminar was being taught--one in Western Europe and one in Africa-- in fall 2010, where she observed several sessions of the Seminar, interviewed the instructors multiple times, and interviewed the participants. The primary data sources include these observations and interviews, in addition to interviews with the Seminar administrators at CIEE's headquarters and students' pre-/post-test scores from the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).
The findings demonstrate that the students participating in the Seminar on Living and Learning Abroad at these two sites made significantly greater gains in their intercultural sensitivity than would be expected if they were not participating in a study abroad intervention. Furthermore, the findings illustrate that the process of facilitating students' intercultural learning during study abroad can be highly complex, and they highlight the importance of having skilled facilitators teach such courses. This study also sheds light on the applicability of several pedagogical theories--including the Intercultural Development Continuum (Hammer, 2009, 2012), the challenge/support hypothesis (Sanford, 1966), and Experiential Learning Theory (Kolb, 1984)--to this process.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: R. Michael Paige. 1 computer file (PDF); iv, 315 pages, appendices 1-7.
Harvey, Tara Alicia.
Facilitating intercultural development during study abroad: a case study of CIEE’s seminar on living and learning abroad.
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