How Study Abroad Programs Impact a Students' Futures: A Western Michigan University Case Study




King, Ashley A.
Hallett, Lucius, F., IV

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The Grosvenor Center for Geographic Education


This study assesses study abroad programs at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, to examine the lasting effects on students' careers, as well as, their personal and social development. Given the consistent increase in students studying abroad, it is important to know how and in what ways these experiences are affecting futures. Through a study of survey data collected from past participants in study abroad programs over eight years at Western Michigan University, we analyze whether significant effects developed for students regarding: language fluency and use, academic achievement, cultural development, personal growth, and professional attainment, as well as, how their study abroad experience impacted their lives following graduation. The findings, through gauging the quality of students' experiences, will assist administrators and coordinators in study abroad programs in higher education towards designing future programs and assessing the potential for success of that design and the long-term impact on participants.



geography, study abroad programs, student international travel, career impacts, program design


King, A.A. & Hallett, L.F. (2012). How study abroad programs impact a students' futures: A Western Michigan University case study. Research in Geographic Education, 14(1), pp. 10-41.


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