Beyond Intercultural Competence: Global Citizenship and a Critical Study Abroad

Berlin, Jeffrey
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2015]
As study abroad becomes ever more prominent in global educational contexts (a 3,250% increase in student numbers since 1950), it is necessary for educators and study abroad professionals to aid in the development of well-rounded global citizens. This includes moving beyond interventions solely focused on students’ individualistic acquisition of knowledge, skills, and abilities (i.e., intercultural competence) to also develop a sense of collective responsibility and action (i.e., global citizenship). Although the term global citizenship is ubiquitous in the study abroad industry, it is often used as rhetoric with limited conceptual foundation. This research employed a mixed-methods design to study a multi-dimensional conceptualization of global citizenship and utilized an instrument specifically designed to assess the construct. For this research, global citizenship consists of three factors: social responsibility, global competence, and global civic engagement. Furthermore, this study examined what personal, contextual, and programmatic characteristics were associated with this desirable learning outcome. Data were collected from 571 survey participants and 34 interviews. Interview participants included three study abroad advisors, three faculty resident directors, and 27 students who had studied abroad in France, Spain, Italy, England, Denmark, India, China, Japan, South Korea, Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, and Argentina. Interview data supported the operational definition of global citizenship and quantitative results indicated a significant relationship between study abroad and all three dimensions of the construct. Furthermore, personal (location of origin, school status, extent of travel, age, personality, and rating of experience), contextual (culture distance and cultural immersion), and programmatic (volunteering and journaling) factors were significantly related to global citizenship. The qualitative data provided a nuanced understanding of the study abroad context, which included student’s motivations, goals, and expectations; their perceptions of the host culture, what it was like to be an outsider, and perceptions of their own nation, culture, and values; the inside and outside of classroom learning contexts; and reentry shock, cooperation versus competition, and how study abroad affected their lives. Findings from qualitative and quantitative data are synthesized and implications for theory, methodology, and practice are discussed.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2015.
Includes bibliographical references.
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