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The success of short-term study abroad programs: a social networks perspective

Rich DeJordy (Department of Management, Craig School of Business, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
Emil Milevoj (Department of Management, Craig School of Business, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
James M. Schmidtke (Department of Management, Craig School of Business, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)
William H. Bommer (Department of Management, Craig School of Business, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California, USA)

Journal of International Education in Business

ISSN: 2046-469X

Article publication date: 4 February 2020

Issue publication date: 7 April 2020

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of individual difference variables and social relationships on student learning outcomes of short-term study abroad programs.

Design/methodology/approach

This study used a social network analysis (SNA) approach to examine the effects of friendship, advice and communication networks on student learning outcomes.

Findings

Results indicated that demographic characteristics (e.g. sex, years of work experience) did not influence learning outcomes nor the enjoyment of the experience. Social networks positively influenced students’ perceived improvement in managerial skills, their ability to reflect on their international experience and their intercultural sensitivity.

Research limitations/implications

Social relationships may be an important factor to consider in understanding the relationship between short-term study abroad programs and learning outcomes.

Practical implications

Program directors and faculty members need to consider the design of assignments and activities that may facilitate the development of specific types of social relationships (e.g. friendship, communication and advice). These specific social relationships may have unique influences on specific learning outcomes of short-term study abroad programs.

Originality/value

This study is the first study that examined the effects of different types of social relationships on learning outcomes for short-term study abroad programs. The results have important implications for both future research and the design of international study-abroad programs.

Keywords

Citation

DeJordy, R., Milevoj, E., Schmidtke, J.M. and Bommer, W.H. (2020), "The success of short-term study abroad programs: a social networks perspective", Journal of International Education in Business, Vol. 13 No. 1, pp. 73-86. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIEB-08-2019-0039

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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