Inside-out: mapping an understanding of undergraduate study abroad programs

Doctorate other than PhD

Aylmer, Juliet R.. 2018. Inside-out: mapping an understanding of undergraduate study abroad programs. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.

Inside-out: mapping an understanding of undergraduate study abroad programs

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorAylmer, Juliet R.
SupervisorHickey, Andrew
O'Neill, Shirley
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages231
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

The potential benefits of undergraduate students studying abroad as part of a degree program have long been touted as central to the social and strategic goals of governments and more recently to an increasing number of universities in the three national case-sites selected for this project – Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Yet, despite the rhetoric, research consistently indicates each year that only a small percentage of the undergraduate student populations in each of the three national case-sites participate in study abroad programs.

Given that ‘study abroad’ is often considered a central aspect of the “internationalisation” model projected by many universities, the thesis’ conceptual framework considers the provision and delivery of study abroad programs as a form of experiential learning (Dewey, 1963) focused on the development of cross-cultural and intercultural understanding. In particular, the thesis suggests that to meet this goal, study abroad programs operate according to institutional social/cultural, political, academic and economic rationales (de Wit, 1995; Knight & de Wit, 1997, 1999). Why study abroad programs attract such low student participation rates in light of these influential factors forms the focus of the inquiry contained herein.

This thesis presents a survey of successive government-assisted campaigns, field/academic literature and an ethnography of the experiences of study abroad professionals selected from universities in the three national case-sites who manage or operate study abroad programs. Applying a qualitative interpretivist methodology, the experiences reflect observations from the researcher’s professional field notes and narratives derived from semi-structured interviews. Extant research largely explores study abroad programs from the perspectives of senior administrative and/or academic staff or students. Therefore this thesis is the first to add comparative practitioner-based knowledge to the literature and aims to introduce cohesive collaborative methods to increase study abroad participation rates in and beyond the three national case-sites.

Keywordsstudy abroad, Internationalisation from Home (IfH)
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
Byline AffiliationsSchool of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education
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