Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

David Shallenberger


Increasing intercultural competence in students is becoming extremely important to institutions around the United States. With the current trends in higher education, study abroad programs need to address intercultural competence as a necessity for the global age (Fantini, 1995). There is no clear consensus on how intercultural competence should be defined. Despite the varied definitions, the need for preparing students for an interconnected world could not be more important.

There has been a recent push for assessing intercultural competence in study abroad programs. Many institutions and organizations claim that their programs are developing global citizens and intercultural competence, but they do not describe how they are developing these competencies. Intercultural competence, for most, does not “just happen.” It must be intentionally addressed in higher education programs, experiences, and courses.

The Semester at Sea (SAS) Global Studies Program (GSP) has been remodeled to support students in understanding the importance of intercultural competence on the ship and in a port. Intentionally addressing intercultural competence in co-curricular activities can provide a more comprehensive and integrated approach, while aiding students on their intercultural discovery. Successful intercultural interactions are at the heart of study abroad; therefore, it is worth investigating the criteria by which SAS in-country programs help students become more culturally sensitive and less ethnocentric. SAS believes in providing students with a hands-on field experience in-country. Thus, it is necessary to discover what kind of GSP curriculum would mirror the students’ learning outside the classroom. This expanded program will support SAS participants in further engaging in global initiatives while in-country.


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Other Education