Short-term Faculty-led Study Abroad Programs Enhance Cultural Exchange and Self-Awareness

Celeste Gaia

Abstract


Though many experts argue that semester or year abroad study is the optimal path, short-term programs meet the needs of students who would not otherwise study abroad and can be effective at increasing intercultural competency.  The present study describes one type of short-term program—the embedded faculty-led model—and provides evidence that programs three weeks or less may be practical and affordable.  Participants (N=136) in short-term faculty-led study abroad courses completed the Global Perspectives Inventory in a pre-post test format. Results indicated that these short-term programs enhanced participants’ understanding and awareness of other cultures and languages, appreciation of the impact of other cultures on the world, and awareness of their own identity. However, these programs may need to address more fully the value of living in complex situations, respect and acceptance of varying cultural perspectives, and a greater sense of responsibility to others. This model can be used with students from a variety of cultures.


Keywords


study abroad; intercultural education; international education

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