Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Linda Gobbo


This Capstone paper explores both the impact of study abroad programs on participants and how contact with a host country can strengthen cultural understanding. To measure these factors, this study measured the impact of homestay and Arabic language learning experiences. It investigates the experiences of undergraduate participants from three study abroad programs in Amman, Jordan during the spring semester; the period from February-May 2010: Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), School for International Training (SIT) and Earlham College. Data on the impact of students‟ study abroad experiences, intercultural interactions, and qualitative communication with the host culture was gathered through observations, a survey, and focus groups. Survey results of the 25 participants confirm that the study abroad experience is a unique period of time that helps students acquire or improve intercultural skills. Evidence from the 25 participants shows that homestay experiences and language learning for communication are the most attractive program components. The data indicate that participants believe living in the culture is one of the best ways to develop mutual understanding. They consider study abroad programs bridges that connect them with the culture and provide them with needed social and academic support. This paper hopes to provide insight for further research into international education in relation to the intercultural communication field, and into cultural awareness and study abroad programs, especially in non traditional destinations such as Jordan.


International and Comparative Education | International and Intercultural Communication


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