Alt Title

Student involvement, perceptions, and experiences in study abroad programs

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Document Type


First Advisor

Gyant, LaVerne, 1950-

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Counseling, Adult and Higher Education


African American college students--Attitudes; Foreign study--Public opinion


This dissertation has sought to explore the African American student’s involvement in study abroad programs. A narrative inquiry, Afrocentric approach was used to explore and analyze student involvement, benefit, and impact of their study abroad experience. Ten students, both undergraduate and graduate, who had participated in study abroad programs were interviewed. Among the ten, two of the students had studied abroad twice; for several of them this was the first time they had applied for a passport, and for many of the students financing their trip was a challenge for them. In reviewing the literature it was found that approximately 3.5% African American students participate in study abroad programs compared with 88% white students. The Institute of International Education and the Paul Simon Act both are seeking ways to increase not only the destinations for study abroad programs, but the participation of African American students. The literature that was available regarding African Americans participants in study abroad programs, addressed several barriers—lack of information, finances, fear of leaving home, and not wanting to be far from their families and friends. It also points out that many of those who do participate go to Africa, to learn more about their culture and history. The results of the study found that students had a positive experience, that faculty and other student were influential in their participation, and that their worldview changed. Based on the results, several important aspects were identified. These include pre-departure and orientation experience, funding the trip, recruitment, language acquisition, global perspective, host families, receiving academic credit, and symbols as connection to history. For each of the participants these aspects were important in making their experience positive. As an exploratory study, this dissertation has laid the foundation for further research on African Americans participation in study abroad programs. Recommendations for future study include looking at the about aspects, as well as looking at diverse students and faculty participation in study abroad and international experiences, gender participation in study abroad programs and high school and community college participation in study abroad programs.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 109-117)


vii, 136 pages




Northern Illinois University

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