The transference of domestic teaching skills to international settings within study abroad programs

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study abroad , experiential learning , teacher training , faculty training , international experience
Salloway, Leah
The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions of Plymouth State University faculty members who have led study abroad programs or international experiences for Plymouth State University Students, and to identify what themes or components were most beneficial in leading such experiences. This study sampled 11 Plymouth State University faculty members who had led study abroad experiences within the past 20 years and had additional interviews with 7 of the study participants to gain further insight and information regarding the experiences that they led. This study identified key themes that faculty members cited as integral in enabling them to lead high-impact learning experiences for students. These themes included opportunity for reflection during and after the international experience, facilitated opportunities for cultural immersion, the use of high quality, in-country providers to provide logistical services and supplemental education, and the benefit of having a pre-trip visit to the country in which the experience will be located in order to more fully vet the program. This study was the first to identify key themes that were beneficial to university faculty when leading study abroad programs or international experiences for students. The results of this study provide important insight into the factors that create high-impact learning opportunities for students traveling internationally with Plymouth State University. The results of this study also provide Plymouth State University important data regarding the opportunities for students and faculty within study abroad programs and international experiences to increase the quality of programming and the ability for students to access such programs regardless of socioeconomic status. The findings indicate that Plymouth State University should consider the themes of cultural immersion, reflection, pre-trip visits, and the use of in-country providers when designing and supporting faculty members to facilitate study abroad programs or international experiences for students.