Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sora Friedman


This Capstone research aimed to address a need in higher education internationalization, which was to bring more intentionality and integrated learning around education abroad. The research explored the ways in which educators help students effectively process and make meaning of their lived experiences abroad. The following questions were addressed: how can educators help students to critically reflect on what they gained from their education abroad experience, and on who they are in a larger global society? How can educators foster this critical reflexivity in students for life-long learning?

The conceptual framework explored key theories in student development, adult learning, and reflective learning theory and pedagogy, and literature was reviewed on intercultural competence and current research on education abroad pedagogy and programming. This framework was utilized as the theoretical foundation for qualitative surveys, interviews, and a focus group targeted to international education (IE) professionals at U.S. colleges and universities.

The findings demonstrated the need for intentional, programmatic supports for education abroad across the entire experience, including pre-departure, while abroad, and upon re-entry. Opportunities for guided, critical reflection should be present throughout, and international programs should be aligned with a student’s academic discipline and professional pursuits. Education abroad should be deeply integrated into the broader curriculum and within the structure of the institution, and it can be further supported through integration in individual disciplines. Collaboration and partnerships provide an opportunity for broader student support, and educators should continue to challenge and support students beyond the education abroad experience.


Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning