Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Richard Rodman


The present study explores how participation in an international exchange program can be fairly incorporated into the educational context of Edgewood College (a small, liberal arts institution in the U.S.), and how the accessibility of student support services at the host university affects academic performance. In spite of 3.0 GPA eligibility requirements and the inclusion of host university grades into students’ cumulative GPA, Edgewood exchange participants have struggled to yield strong academic performances as indicated by GPA. The researcher presents and analyzes three cases of Edgewood College students who have returned from participation in an international exchange program and received failing or near failing grades. The analysis is guided by student development theories along with research on GPA and assessment practices during study abroad. The cases presented do not indicate a direct connection between the use of student support services and students’ academic performance during study abroad. The present study also does not show pre-departure GPA to be an accurate indicator of academic performance at the host university; therefore, international educators need to identify other factors or student characteristics that can help predict study abroad GPA. Another, possibly more prudent, issue to explore is the use of GPA as a measure for study abroad learning and academic credit. The researcher suggests revisions to Edgewood’s evaluation of study abroad learning to encourage full immersion into the host culture and to recognize the academic and cultural knowledge students acquire.


International and Comparative Education


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