Intercultural Sojourns: Assessing Outcomes and Impact
Project Director: Alvino Fantini (SIT).
In collaboration with: SIT Graduate Institute/World Learning, Federation of The Experiment in International Living (FEIL) and Global Initiatives (UA).
In 2005-2006, Federation EIL carried out a global, longitudinal, and cross-sectional research pilot study involving Ecuador, Great Britain and Switzerland to document outcomes and impact in exchange experiences, and to investigate the development of intercultural competence through host language study and cross-cultural interventions. This project has added other language-culture groups and cultures, and identified characteristics particular to specific groups and/or universal to all, in order to help program designers and evaluators to improve study abroad experiences and learning outcomes. It assessed program outcomes (in Brazil, Germany and Japan) and impact on both alumni and hosts, some 5, 10, 20, and more years later, and identifies aspects of the experience (e.g., orientation, homestay, interventions, etc.) that most contribute to the desired outcomes. The project investigated: what components can and should be measured, how best to measure them, what life changes occur, and how this furthers the mission of study abroad. It has generated online resources and white papers, and professional development workshops on assessing the development of intercultural competence during study abroad stays.