Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University


Study abroad experiences off er a wide range of growth opportunities to participating students. From heightened independence and personal confidence to an enhanced understanding of the host culture to a greater awareness of cross-cultural and global citizenship, the benefits of well-run study abroad programs have been assessed through survey questions, interviews, faculty observations, and student testimonials (Forsey, Broomhall & Davis, 2012; Dwyer & Peters, 2004; Gorka & Niesenbaum, 2001). In addition, students returning from study abroad programs tend to rethink the goals of their undergraduate education, often taking more interdisciplinary courses and courses involving cross-cultural components, and many travel or plan to travel internationally again (Lewis & Niesenbaum, 2005). Their home campuses benefit, too, from students sharing their global engagement through civic commitment, extra- and co-curricular activities, motivation for cross-cultural study, and heightened cultural awareness in discussions both in and outside the classroom. At four-year colleges and universities, these programs enjoy continuing popularity: according to the most recent Open Doors report (Institute of International Education, 2012), nearly 234,000, or 13.8%, of US students earning bachelor’s degrees traveled abroad during the 2010-2011 school year. By contrast, that number represents only 1.4% of students enrolled in any type of higher education program, suggesting a correlation between students seeking bachelor’s degrees and students seeking the personal and pre-professional benefits of study abroad programs (Institute of International Education, 2012).