Publication Date

Spring 5-19-2016

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Peter Simpson

Abstract

With an increased amount of people seeking higher education, it has become vital to connect education to career in American colleges and universities. To better understand the value of education abroad, international educators must make this connection clear. This research examines student outcomes from Maryville College’s (MC) study abroad programs and compares them with human resource needs, with special attention given to the local job market in the surrounding area. A case study approach was used to gather data from MC study abroad returnees, local HR professionals, and national sources to understand where student outcomes are or are not lining up with vocation-based competencies. Data was collected through surveys, interviews, and other resources in order to understand the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs) that MC returnees took from having studied abroad, as well as competencies desired by local and national employers. Significant themes were compared to determine where there is cross over. Overall, there are some similarities between employer and student KSAs. But in general, competencies that students gained differ from employer needs. However, with slight alterations, several student outcomes could be applied for vocational purposes. In short, there is an opportunity for MC students to use study abroad as a way to gain KSAs needed for career purposes. Four steps are suggested for MC to begin creating stronger connections between study abroad programming and career preparation.

Disciplines

Community-Based Research | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Sociology | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | International and Comparative Education | Rural Sociology