Forging multicultural sensitivity: How short-term study abroad experiences can help college students engage in a global society
Keywords:Faculty-led study abroad, student international travel, cultural sensitivity, global awareness, study abroad in higher education, internationalisation of curriculum
Transformative learning about global matters is becoming an important institutional mission for planning in the 21st century. Structured faculty-led programs may offer students a greater sense of society and global mindedness. The purpose of this study was to investigate the cultural sensitivity of students who participated in a one-week faculty-led spring break trip (Travelers) versus students who did not participate in study abroad experience (Non-travelers). We administered an adapted version of the Cultural Diversity Assessment Inventory (CDAI) to 67 students enrolled in an ethnically diverse urban university, assessing the following areas: a) creating a multicultural society, b) cultural awareness, and c) cross-cultural communication. Results show that Travelers are more aware of their role in society and seem to be more responsive to multicultural and global concerns than Non-travelers. Pedagogical aspects of faculty-led trips for experiential learning will be further discussed.