International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

How Students Self-Prepare for a Study-Abroad Program: A Qualitative Analysis
Nilufer Medora,Ph.D; Tiffany L. Brown, Ph.D; Sarah Taylor, Ph.D

With increasing globalization and cultural interconnectedess, higher education is putting more effort into developing and encouraging students to particiapte in study abroad programs. In recent years, researchers have also paid more attention to identifying how to best prepare students for their study abroad expereinces, yet, there has not been an investigation of how students self-prepare prior to a study abroad excursion. Using the narratives of 80 college students, the present study examined student perceptions of their preparatory efforts prior to the “Semester at Sea” (SAS) study abroad voyage.Six major themes emerged from the data as students reported preparing in the following ways: 1.) Acquiring Knowledge; 2.) Financial Preparation; 3.) Logistical Preparation; 4.) Relational Preparation; 5.) Cognitive Preparation; and 6.) No Preparation/Reliance on Previous Experiences.The findings from this study have utility for future empirical investigations of study abroad programs, as well as for improving student preparatory activities.

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