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California Community College Student Outcomes Abroad Research Project


Qualitative Results

Meaningful Effects of Study Abroad

Class Activities

  • Study abroad students indicated that in their courses taken abroad there were greater opportunities for asking questions, contributing to class discussion, developing clear career goals, and using information to perform new skills requiring clear writing, speaking, and thinking.
  • Students noted that study abroad demanded more work, allowed more opportunities for learning, and provided a context to develop a code of ethics.

Deepened Commitment through Purposeful Tasks

  • Students identified a range of directed educational experiences that fostered international learning both while abroad and upon returning home.
  • While abroad, service learning and class projects resulted in moderate to extensive interactions among peers.

Extended and Substantive Interactions with Faculty and Peers

  • Study abroad students linked what they did in groups and directed by a faculty member with their learning.
  • As stated by one student, "Many of the lessons I learned were from my interactions with the other members of our group" (Student Response, Summer 2012).

Interactions with People who are Different than Themselves

  • One pre-program goal identified by students was the desire to interact with the local culture. As noted by one participant, "Since I am Hispanic I plan on exchanging not only American values and customs but also those of my Hispanic heritage" (Student Response, Spring 2013).
  • One participant stated in the post-program survey, "I had the opportunity not only of learning about Korean culture but also of other countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines" (Student Response, Fall 2012).

Life Changing Experiences

  • One participant indicated, "It was the first time in my life living in a place where English wasn't the primary language. My sense of independence and confidence was strengthened. I was out of my comfort zone but I did well and made new friends" (Student Response, Summer 2012).
  • Other changes included becoming more social, motivated, and confident, as well as gaining perspective on college/career paths.

Life-Changes and Goals Met

  • The study abroad experience impacted core aspirations, for many students this being the result of changes in their personal demeanor.
  • Students noted: "I was almost constantly happy, made good friends, found my language capabilities to be very competent, was more outgoing, and did memorable things that I could not have done in any other place or time" (Student Response, Spring 2012). "The experience motivated me to be more hardworking and pushed my boundaries." (Student Response, Summer 2012). "I feel like I have grown and changed significantly from the person I was before studying abroad. It is hard to explain" (Student Response, Spring 2012).