Publication Date

Spring 5-3-2024

Degree Name

EdD in Global Education

Primary Advisor

Dr. Deepa Srikantaiah

Second Advisor

Dr. Sora Friedman

Third Reader

Dr. Kevin Clancy


This study investigated the transformative potential of integrating subjective and intersubjective contemplative practices within a short-term, faculty-led education abroad program in Finland. Focused on addressing tensions arising from neoliberal and objective approaches to conventional Western higher education, the research explored how critical contemplative education abroad fostered deeper connections with Self, Others, and Place among students. Data collection involved analyzing course documents, facilitating two focus groups, conducting participant observations, and documenting researcher reflections. Employing the heuristic approach within a qualitative and spiritual research paradigm, the study identified three main findings: Experience of Place, Experiential Coherence, and Individual Perspectives within a Collective Experience. The Experience of Place appeared enriched by subjective contemplative practices, facilitating students’ ability to be present and engaged. Contemplative practices in a novel environment facilitated experiential coherence, enabling students to establish a shared resonance beyond the Self to encompass Others and Place in harmony. Individual perspectives within the collective experience highlighted how the students uniquely interpreted their experiences while aligning with the collective one. The findings underscored the transformative potential of integrating contemplative practices into education abroad programs. By intertwining contemplative practices with lived experiences, the research indicated that students forged a profound relationship between the external world and their inner thoughts, senses, and emotions. These insights nurtured students’ awareness, understanding, and compassion, encouraging the incorporation of contemplative practices in education abroad programs to help heal the separation and Othering among individuals, societies, and the natural world.


Higher Education | International and Comparative Education