Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

William Hoffa


This paper explores the real value of non-degree academic exchange programs (NDAEPs). To address this, the following research questions were asked: What is the worth of one year/semester NDAEPs for both their participants and their sponsor, the United States? Why do students choose to participate in these programs and what is their perception of the latter? How does the U.S. benefit?

In order to answer these questions, a qualitative approach and the triangulation method were used for this research, which involved 114 people from 26 countries through online surveys and interviews. The data collected revealed that students embarked on their NDAEP adventures with expectations of gaining some “new experience.” They ended up developing a score of different skills, extensive knowledge, and unforgettable experiences, which were in line with the objectives of their programs. Various obstacles students experienced in the course of their programs turned out to be surmountable and insignificant compared to the immediate positive results and potential future benefits. As to the implications for the U.S., the overall gains far surpassed any negative side-effects resulting from these programs for both the American public and the image of the U.S. abroad.

Overall, this research proved that NDAEPs are worth the program costs. Further inquiry should focus on identifying Monitoring and Evaluation tools which assess the impact of NDAEPs in participants’ home countries after completion of these programs. The research also showed a need to involve Congressmen who set policies in the field of international exchanges to get a first-hand perspective on the issue in question. The results of this research will interest researchers, sponsors, administering agencies, and other organizations in the field of international exchange programs.


International and Comparative Education