Student Engagement and Study Abroad

Liam Rourke, Heather Kanuka


In this study the authors assessed student engagement during a short-term study-abroad program using the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). Data were collected from a group of Canadian undergraduates spending six weeks in Mexico. Their program included a 10-day bus tour, three half-credit courses, and accommodations with local families. The authors administered the NSSE twice: once at the conclusion of the students’ current school year and six weeks later at the end of their study-abroad program. A comparison of responses from the two administrations of the NSSE indicates an advantage, though modest, for the study-abroad setting. Study abroad’s stature in higher education as a high-impact learning activity received moderate support from the data. The authors encourage administrators and researchers to use student engagement and the NSSE to refine study-abroad programs.

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