Publication Date

2014

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

David Shallenberger

Abstract

Study abroad during the college years can provide a platform for personal and academic growth and development, and cultivate graduates who grasp international issues and appreciate the interconnectedness of the world. An alumni census survey with open and closed-ended questions was distributed to 1,000 alumni of Furman University who studied abroad as undergraduates and graduated from Furman University between 1994 and 2003 to elicit an answer to the question: Which long-lasting benefits do Furman University alumni associate with participation in a study abroad program? The survey asked alumni to report whether specific skills, attitudes, and depths of understanding were impacted by the undergraduate study abroad experience, and to provide written examples of career benefits and relevance to their current lives.

Alumni reported significant gains in skills, modifications to attitudes, and increased awareness that contributed to their employability, personal development, and global awareness. They provided clear examples of how study abroad has impacted their lives and careers.

Study abroad is a platform for formative development. In faculty-led models, faculty program leaders should be encouraged to incorporate non-traditional topics regarding personal learning into guided reflection to enhance students’ cognitive growth and development.

Disciplines

Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education Administration

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