The purpose of this case study research is to investigate the impact of physical activities on student experience on a short-term study abroad program. While there is plentiful research on the benefits and student experience of study abroad (both long and short-term), there is limited research focusing on the impact of physical activity as an integral component of a study abroad program. In order to observe and investigate the impact of physical activity in a short-term study abroad program, I accompanied a two-week study abroad program to Belize in January 2013 with undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Along with participant observations, in-depth interviews with participants were also conducted to assess the impact that the physical components of the program had on the students. I found that the physical activities in the program impacted the students connection to the course content, forced the students to overcome obstacles and face fears, made the students seek out other similar study abroad programs for the future, and proved to be the favorite feature of the program. However, I found that the physical activities of the program had little impact on the student's connection and learning of the local culture, and were not reported to be the most meaningful components of the program. Data collected from this study can contribute to the literature on the diverse field of study abroad, and possibly influence future programming of short-term study abroad.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. May 2013. Major: Educational Policy and Administration. Advisor: Gerald W. Fry. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 44 pages, appendices A-B.
Terry, Kathryn Anne.
The impact of physical activities in a short-term study abroad program: a case study of Dive Belize.
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