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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Developmental Influences of Study Abroad Experiences in Higher Education

Jonathan A. Lembright.

Studying abroad is becoming an increasingly popular option for college students. Many students return from these academic and cultural experiences expressing considerable personal change. In spite of such reports, research to date is conflicting and even contradictory as to what effects might really exist. Moreover, because of this lack of information, educators are unable to validate these programs as a worthwhile monetary and developmental investment. It is the research surrounding the relationship between study abroad experiences and student development that this paper will explore.

The foremost quantitative and qualitative research on the developmental effects of a study abroad experience has been collected and divided into the following four segments: intellectual development, personal development, employment/career outcome, and cultural awareness.

The synthesis of this information allows a clear vision of what is actually known about these experiences, gives a blueprint of the research yet needed, outlines the obstacles of such research, and unveils the application of this knowledge to those in higher education.


Jonathan A. Lembright  (United States)
Academic Specialist/Advisor
College of Engineering, Undergraduate Studies
Michigan State University

Jonathan Lembright is a PhD student and an academic specialist/advisor at Michigan State University. His research interests include higher education policy, student development theory, and cross-cultural education. He has lived in Jersualem, studied in Zimbabwe and worked with the Center for International Education during his graduate studies at The University of Tennessee.

  • Cross-Cultural Education
  • Student Development Theory
  • Qualitative vs. Quantitative outcomes
  • Higher Education

(30 min Conference Paper, English)