Student Conceptions of International Experience Study (SCIE)

Over the past decade federal and institutional pressure has steadily mounted for greater study abroad capacity and larger participation figures. This growth has largely been driven by the increasing conviction on the part of students and parents that education abroad is a must-have notation on a competitive resume. In this climate, higher education institutions are constantly being challenged to offer an ever greater array of international learning opportunities. At the same time, they are expected to provide the rigorous, empirically-derived evidence that supports the relevance and educational value of their programming. In the face of frequent criticism that some study abroad is no more than vacuous tourism or watered down academics, and a relative dearth of studies making the case otherwise, research is needed to document how study abroad is a viable, indeed critical, component of the overall undergraduate experience.

Findings and results

The Student Conceptions of International Experience Study (SCIE) developed an assessment instrument to collect data on a wide sample of study abroad students. The instrument documented students’ conceptions of, approaches to, and depth of international learning experiences abroad.

The study provided data to inform faculty and administrators at a broad range of institutions as they set policy and programming to meet their international learning goals. The study used phenomenography, a research method well established in higher education studies on student learning, to provide a broad framework for more deeply understanding how students approach and make meaning of international educational opportunity. This information can influence policy and programming at numerous stages of the experience, including pre-departure, on-site, and reintegration.

Study phases

The study was conducted in three main phases:

  1. Qualitative interviewing and analysis;
  2. Survey creation, pre- and post-study abroad administration, and analysis;
  3. And dissemination and presentation to policy makers.

In addition to creating the survey for wide release to study abroad programmers and policy makers, the results of the research were disseminated through conference papers and in academic journals.

Funding

This project was funded by the Buffett Institute and the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence

People

Principal Investigator

Bernhard Streitwieser, Senior Research Associate, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence

Collaborators

  • Gregory Light (right), Director, Searle Center for Teaching Excellence
  • Shyanmei Wang (middle), Research Coordinator

Publications

Streitwieser, B. (in press). "Erasmus Mobility Students and Conceptions of National, Regional and Global Citizenship Identity." In. H. deWit (Ed.), Symposium on Internationalisation of higher education: Misconceptions and challenges. Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences, School of Economics and Management.

Streitwieser, B. and Light, G. (under review). "The Erasmus Citizen: Student Conceptions of Citizenship in the Erasmus Mobility Programme."

Streitwieser, B. and Light, G. (under review). "Study abroad and the easy promise of Global Citizenship: Student conceptions of a contested notion"

Streitwieser, B., Wang, S., & Light, G. (2009, Spring). "Understanding student conceptions of international experience." Comparative and International Education Society Newsletter,n>149.

Presentations

Streitwieser, B. "Transcending National Identity? U.S. and European University Students and Conceptions of Citizenship Identity through Study Abroad/Mobility Experiences." Presentation for the European Conference on Educational Research Annual Meeting (ECER). Berlin, Germany (September 2011).

Streitwieser, B. and Light, G. "The Erasmus Citizen: Student Conceptions of Citizenship in the Erasmus Mobility Programme." Presentation at the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting (CIES). Montreal, Canada (May 2011).

Streitwieser, B. "European University Students and Conceptions of Citizenship Identity." Presentation for the Symposium on “Internationalisation of higher education: Misconceptions and challenges” at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, University of Applied Sciences, on the occasion of the inaugural (public) lecture of professor Hans de Wit, School of Economics and Management (April 2011).

Streitwieser, B. "European University Students and Citizenship Identity". Presentation for the Fulbright Academy of Science and Technology Sixth Annual Conference. Heidelberg, Germany (March 2011).

Streitwieser, B. "Study Abroad: Possibilities, Challenges and Responsibilities." Presentation for the Checkpoint Charlie Foundation, Student and Teacher Exchange Program, Berlin-Wannsee, Germany. (March 2011).

Streitwieser, B., Wang, S. "Using Variation Theory to Understand Student Conceptions of International Experience." Paper for the Forum on Education Abroad Annual Conference. Charlotte, NC. (March 2010).

Streitwieser, B., Wang, S., and Light, G. "From the Broad to the Specific: Students Reflecting on Education Abroad." Paper for the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL) Annual Conference, Bloomington, IN. (October 2009).

Streitwieser, B., Light, G., & Wang, S. "The student conceptions of international experience study." Presentation at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Conference, San Diego, CA (April 2009).

Streitwieser, B. "Student conceptions of global citizenship." Presentation at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Annual Conference, Charleston, SC (March 2009).