Monday, January 2, 2012

benefits of study abroad

Conventional wisdom in the study abroad field has held that more is better; that is, the longer students study abroad the more significant the academic, cultural development and personal growth benefits that accrue. The standard assumption is that meaningful advancement in language learning and other academic disciplines using a culture-specific pedagogy requires at least a full year of study abroad. While the benefits of full-year study abroad are strongly embraced by study abroad professionals, there is a dearth of quantitative research supporting a correlation with positive outcomes. Among education abroad professionals, convictions about duration rank among the most deeply-held. This article presents a research that measures the impact of program duration on five learning outcomes: (1) student academic choices; (2) career development; (3) personal and social development; (4) foreign language commitment and use; and (5) intercultural competence and intercultural awareness. While it has been long believed that study abroad changes people's lives, little evidence exists to explain what kinds of tangible changes occur and for how long. This study shows that study abroad has a significant impact on students in the areas of continued language use, academic attainment measures, intercultural and personal development, and career choices. Most importantly, the study illustrates that this impact can be sustained over a period as long as 50 years

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