Building on existing study abroad literature, the purpose of this paper is to assess the impact of both short-term and long-term study abroad programs on students’ leadership skills and their career aspirations.
A sample of college students were invited to complete an electronic survey about their experiences with study abroad programs. This survey included study abroad participants and non-study abroad participants and aimed to assess areas such as academic performance, leadership qualities, international exposure, and study abroad.
The authors’ results suggest that study abroad programs have a significant effect on leadership skills and career aspirations. Short-term programs, in particular, were found to impact both leadership skills and career aspirations.
The limitations of this study lie within the nature of the survey data used. Surveys are subjective and it was left to the respondent to determine, for example, what defines a leadership position. Nonetheless, the survey data collected implies how students feel about study abroad programs and the results provided implications about the importance of these programs.
According to the results, study abroad programs have value to students who participated in these programs. The authors conclude that study abroad is an important supplement to post-secondary education and participation in such programs should be encouraged.
This paper contributes to the study abroad literature by focusing on short-term programs, which have not been heavily studied in the field. The authors’ results suggest that study abroad has a significant impact on students, thus has practical implications for college students and educators.
Geyer, A., Putz, J. and Misra, K. (2017), "The effect of short-term study abroad experience on American students’ leadership skills and career aspirations", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 1042-1053. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-10-2016-0203
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