Study Abroad Outcomes: The Impact of Pre-Departure Preparation on Intercultural CompetenceShow full item record
|Title||Study Abroad Outcomes: The Impact of Pre-Departure Preparation on Intercultural Competence|
|Abstract||Study abroad is an important area of research in today's increasingly interconnected world. Universities seeking to foster students' development as global citizens continue to focus on developing students' intercultural skills, international knowledge, and global perspectives. With the growing significance of study abroad, universities have developed ways to assess study abroad outcomes. However, determining how to improve study abroad outcomes proves to be more of a challenge. Because the primary desired outcome of study abroad is the development of intercultural competence, the key question to investigate is what factors influence intercultural competence--a construct that measures the effectiveness and appropriateness of engagement with those who possess different cultural origins or backgrounds. In researching this question, my study examines the impact of pre-departure preparation behaviors and activities on the development of intercultural competence while studying abroad. My research hypothesized that self-initiated research, language proficiency, establishment of personal goals, and participation in pre-study abroad courses and cultural/international activities are positively related to the development of intercultural competence while abroad. Results indicated that actively researching the host-country's culture on one's own and establishing personal goals to increase intercultural competence were most significantly related to the development of intercultural competence. Additionally, language proficiency, participation in courses specific to the study abroad program, and involvement in cultural/international activities were unrelated to intercultural competence. This research contributes to study abroad literature by examining the impact of pre-departure variables as opposed to variables that affect intercultural competence during study abroad. It provides insight into how universities can improve the success of study abroad programs at the pre-sojourn stage--the stage they have the greatest control over.|
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- Undergraduate Honors Papers 
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