Publication Date

2008

Abstract

This Capstone paper explores the logic that study abroad has long-term impact on participants’ professional development. It investigates the professional outcomes and benefits of studying abroad as perceived by Dickinson College class of 1998 study abroad alumni. Through use of a survey, phone interviews, and email follow-up, study abroad participants were questioned about the skills, knowledge, and self-awareness they acquired and maintained from their study abroad experience. Inquiries were made into how and if these acquisitions proved professionally applicable, influenced career paths, and contributed to success. Findings confirm that gains resulting from studying abroad are professionally applicable in the form of foreign language use, intercultural competences and personal growth. Evidence showed that a large majority of study abroad alumni gravitate toward a line of work with an international or multicultural dimension. The experience increased competitiveness as a job applicant and led to professional opportunities. The data further indicates that many alumni are influenced by their study abroad experience in choosing a career path. With knowledge of these outcomes, this study aims to highlight the value of study abroad and support a socially and economically driven movement to increase study abroad opportunities.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

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