Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Sora Friedman


The field of study abroad is continuously developing and changing. One goal of study abroad is to increase students’ cross-cultural knowledge and skills, a concept often referred to as intercultural competencies or intercultural awareness. Due to growth over the previous decades more and more program models have developed. One of the newer program types is the island program, a program in which students’ interaction with the host culture can be more limited than other study abroad program models.

Using qualitative and quantitative surveys, a review of application essays, and the use of the Cross-Cultural Adaptability Inventory (CCAI), this study explores the degree to which students are gaining immediate intercultural awareness when participating in a Rutgers Study Abroad semester island program in Florence, Italy. An analysis of this data yields mixed results. While the CCAI scores showed a general decrease in skills related to cross-cultural adaptability, most participant responses outside of the CCAI survey alluded to positive gains in intercultural awareness. These results highlight the complex nature of intercultural awareness, cross-cultural adjustment, and adaptability. This study contributes to cross-cultural adaptability research by identifying if there are immediate gains in intercultural awareness by students who participate in this program model and will enhance educators’ understanding of students’ intercultural gains on island programs abroad.


Bilingual, Multilingual, and Multicultural Education | International and Comparative Education


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