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«Title: STUDY ABROAD AS A PASSPORT TO STUDENT LEARNING: DOES THE DURATION OF THE STUDY ABROAD PROGRAM MATTER? Jill M. Neppel, Master of Arts, 2005 ...»

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Table 5: A Comparison of the Participants of this Research Study to the 2002-2003 Population of U.S. American Study Abroad Participants

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In order to get a sense of both short-term and long-term study abroad participants’ socioeconomic backgrounds, a question was included in the survey that asked respondents to estimate their parents’ total, pre-taxed income from the previous year (from all sources). As indicated by Table 6, chi-square statistics did not find a significant difference between respondents’ socioeconomic backgrounds by length of study abroad program. Both long-term and short-term participants tended to come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds, with a large proportion of both coming from relatively high socioeconomic class backgrounds.

Table 6: Annual Income of Survey Respondents’ Parents by Length of Program

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$74,999-$99,999 39 21.0 39 18.2 $100,000-$149,999 51 27.4 57 26.6 $150,000-$199,999 25 13.4 30 14.0

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Chi-square: χ2=1.857; df=4 ; p=.762 A total of 446 individuals responded to the question that asked them to indicate what college housed their academic major. Results corroborate the literature that states that study abroad is no longer restricted to foreign language majors exclusively. Some disparities were found to exist, however, between the individual academic colleges and their propensity to send students on either short-term or long-term study abroad programs. The most notable differences are manifested in the academic colleges of Arts and Humanities, Robert H. Smith School of Business, Education, and Life Sciences, with the former two colleges sending relatively more students on long-term programs and the latter two colleges sending relatively more students on short-term programs. (See Table 7) Table 7: Survey Respondents’ Academic Colleges by Length of Study Abroad

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Chi-square: χ2=36.260; df=14; p=.001 Respondents were also asked to indicate their current class standing. As indicated by Table 8, respondents who are currently in their freshman or sophomore year participated in short-term study abroad programs at a higher rate than in long-term programs. The majority of respondents who are currently seniors, however, participated in long-term study abroad programs at a higher rate than in short-term study abroad programs. Finally, among individuals who have already graduated, more short-term participants than long-term participants responded.

Table 8: Current Class Standing of Survey Respondents by Length of Study

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Chi-square: χ2=49.149; df=4; p=.000 The survey further queried respondents about their previous international experiences. Table 9 depicts survey participants’ responses regarding the number of times they had traveled beyond the borders of the United States prior to the study abroad experience in question. A total of 88.3% of respondents had traveled abroad at least once.

Cross-tabulations between the number of times respondents traveled abroad before their respective study abroad experiences and the length of the study abroad program did not reveal significant differences.

Table 9: Number of Times Survey Respondents Traveled Abroad Prior to this

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Chi-square: χ2=9.686; df=6; p=.139 A related question asked respondents to indicate the longest amount of time they had spent in another country in a single visit before studying abroad. The two most common response choices for both short-term and long-term study abroad participants was two weeks and three to four weeks, respectively. A greater proportion of long-term participants than short-term participants indicated that they had spent five to seven weeks in another country during a single visit prior to the study abroad experience in question.

On the other hand, a larger proportion of short-term participants than long-term participants indicated that they had previously spent twelve or more weeks abroad in a single visit before this particular study abroad experience. (See Table 10) Table 10: Longest Amount of Time (in Weeks) Spent in Another Country During a

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Chi-square: χ2=11.260; df=5; p=.046 Description of Respondents’ Study Abroad Experiences Descriptive questions were also asked about respondents’ study abroad experiences in regards to such programmatic factors as the sponsoring institution, type, duration, and location of the program. According to the results of the survey, the vast majority of short-term respondents studied abroad on a University of Maryland program.

In contrast, a greater proportion of long-term respondents studied abroad on a non-UM program than on a UM program. (See Table 11) Table 11: The Sponsoring Institutions and Organizations of Survey Respondents’

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Chi-square: χ2=130.325; df=1; p=.000 As demonstrated by Tables 12 and 13, there was some diversity among short-term and long-term respondents in terms of study abroad destinations and the extent to which travel was mandated by the individual study abroad programs. Whereas the vast majority of long-term participants were stationed in one location, the opposite is true for shortterm participants, who tended to travel to multiple locations as part of the planned study abroad experience. (See Table 12) As for location, the majority of both short-term and long-term respondents studied abroad in Europe. However, in order of popularity, the next most common destinations for short-term respondents included South America, Asia, North America, Africa, and Australia/New Zealand. In comparison, the world regions that hosted the most long-term respondents were Australia/New Zealand, Asia, South America, and Africa, respectively. None of the long-term respondents studied abroad in North America. (See Table 13) Table 12: The Extent to which Survey Respondents’ Study Abroad Programs Required Traveling to Multiple Locations by Length of Program

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Chi-square: χ2=60.854; df=5; p=.000 Several additional programmatic questions were included in the survey in order to gain further insight into the nature of participants’ study abroad experiences. For example, respondents were asked whether or not their study abroad programs were stationed in one or more locations where English was the native language. Crosstabulations revealed that the majority of both long-term and short-term participants studied abroad in countries where English was not the native language (short-term respondents at a higher rate). (See Table 14) Additionally, the majority of both long-term and short-term respondents indicated that the majority of their classes were instructed in English. (See Table 15) Table 14: The Extent to which Survey Respondents’ Study Abroad Experiences

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Chi-square: χ2=11.694; df=1; p=.001 Table 15: The Use of English as the Language of Instruction for the Majority of Survey Respondents’ Classes by Length of Program

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Chi-square: χ2=0.957; df=1; p=.328 Respondents were also asked to give further information about the nationalities of their classmates and instructors. The overwhelming majority of short-term respondents indicated that most of their classmates were other students from the U.S. In comparison, there was a more equal distribution of responses in regards to the nationality of classmates among long-term respondents, although the largest proportion of long-term respondents still indicated that the majority of their classmates were from the U.S. (See Table 16) Table 16: The Nationalities of Survey Respondents’ Classmates While Abroad

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Chi-square: χ2= 153.362; df=3; p=.000 As for the nationalities of their instructors, the largest percentage of long-term respondents indicated that the majority of their instructors were natives of the host country; the statement “Took classes from a combination of host national instructors, international instructors and U.S. American instructors” was the second most oft cited response choice among long-term respondents. In contrast, the largest percentage of short-term respondents indicated that the majority of their instructors were American.

(See Table 17) Table 17: The Nationalities of Survey Respondents’ Instructors While Abroad

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Chi-square: χ2=108.678; df=3; p=.000 Moving beyond the educational context, the researcher thought it was important to gain insight into the residential environments to which study abroad participants had been exposed while abroad. Tables 18 through 23 provide a detailed look at the variety of housing and roommate options that study abroad participants experienced as a part of their international programs. Chi-square analyses were conducted so that readers could compare the experiences of long-term and short-term respondents. Results show that approximately the same proportion of long-term and short-term respondents stayed with a host family. (See Table 18) Long-term respondents were more likely than short-term respondents to reside in university housing while abroad. (See Table 19) However, relative to long-term respondents, short-term respondents stayed in private dormitories at a higher rate. (See Table 20) A high proportion of long-term respondents resided in private apartments during their education abroad experience; this was only true for a small proportion of short-term respondents, however. (See Table 21) The inverse is true for hotels, meaning that the vast majority of short-term respondents stayed in hotels as a part of their study abroad experiences. This statement did not hold true for the majority of long-term respondents. (See Table 22) Table 18: Survey Respondents’ Answer to Whether or Not Their Program Involved

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Chi-square: χ2=.347; df=1; p=.556 Table 19: Survey Respondents’ Answer to Whether or Not Their Program Involved Staying in University Housing by Length of Study Abroad Program

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Chi-square: χ2=18.853; df=1; p=.000 Table 20: Survey Respondents’ Answer to Whether or Not Their Program Involved Staying In a Private Dormitory by Length of Study Abroad Program

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Chi-square: χ2=5.215; df=1; p=.022 Table 21: Survey Respondents’ Answer to Whether or Not Their Program Involved Staying In a Private Apartment by Length of Study Abroad Program

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Chi-square: χ2=160.380; df=1; p=.000 Among short-term study abroad participants, the majority lived with one or more U.S. American roommates (but not with a host family). The next most common responses among short-term participants included: lived with a host family (did have other U.S.

American roommates), lived alone, and lived with a host family (no other U.S. American roommates). The majority of long-term study abroad participants also indicated that they resided with one or more U.S. American roommates (but not a host family) while abroad.

The next most common response choices among long-term participants included: lived with one or more international students (but not a host family), lived with a host family (did have other U.S. American roommates), and lived with a combination of host national, international and/or U.S. American students (but not a host family). The following response options: lived alone and lived with a host family (no U.S. American roommates), were both chosen by 7.7% of long-term respondents. (See Table 23) Table 23: Habitation Patterns of Survey Respondents by Length of Study Abroad

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Chi-square: χ2=54.341; df=5; p=.000 Data Analysis: Inferential Statistics This next section will describe the data analysis measures that were used in analyzing the four null hypotheses of this research study. To review, the inferential statistical method, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA), was selected prior to the act of data collection. Gender and class standing were chosen as covariates. The independent variable operationalized for this study was length of study abroad program, and the

dependent variables to be tested according to the research hypotheses included:

cognitive complexity, liberal learning, personal philosophy, and interpersonal selfconfidence. In accordance with proper data analysis methods, statistical tests were run for the reliability of constructs and assumptions of ANCOVA.

Data clean-up and modifications. The first step taken once data had been exported from the survey software to SPSS was to run frequencies on all of the variables to ensure that variables had been coded accurately and data had been transferred successfully.

Next, the data obtained from survey questions three and twenty-one were recoded.

Survey question three asked respondents to identify the length of their study abroad program. It was originally hoped that enough responses would be obtained to analyze the independent variable (i.e., length of study abroad program) on four levels (i.e., academic year, semester, winter-term and summer); however, because of the unequal samples sizes associated with each category, it was necessary to collapse the data into two categories (i.e., long-term programs and short-term programs) instead of four. The response choices of academic year and semester were recoded and labeled as long-term.

Similarly, the response choices of winter-term, summer (4 weeks or more), and summer (less than 4 weeks) were recoded and labeled as short-term. It was also necessary to recode question 21, which asked respondents to indicate their academic class standing, into quasi-continuous coding. The original order (i.e., already graduated, first year, sophomore, junior, senior, and graduate student) was reordered and re-labeled as first year, sophomore, junior, senior, and already graduated (which included the response choices “graduate student” and “already graduated”). Frequencies were run again on both of the variables that had been recoded (length of program and academic class standing) to ensure consistency and accuracy.



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