Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett, IV

Second Advisor

Dr. Gregory Veeck

Third Advisor

Dr. Li Yang

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This thesis examines study abroad programs at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The study assesses the lasting effects on students careers through a longitudinal study of survey data collected from past participants in Western Michigan University study abroad programs. I analyze whether significant effects developed for students regarding language fluency and use, academic achievement, cultural development, personal growth, and professional attainment and how their study abroad experience impacted their lives following graduation. With the number of students studying abroad consistently increasing, it is important to know how and in what ways the experience is affecting the participants' personal and professional futures.

This study focuses on prior claims made by Dwyer (2004), who stated that study abroad programs impact students' lives based on the duration of the program. The premise being the longer the program, the more significant the impact. This study will assist administrators and coordinators in the Study Abroad Office to assess the success of their program design on the futures of study abroad participants. Findings from this study will provide direction toward improvements for the programs. With the number of students studying abroad consistently increasing, it is important to know how and in what ways the experience is affecting the participants' future.

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