Possibilities and Constraints of Fostering Deeper Study Abroad Experiences
The Lived Experiences of 50 Years of US Students in Japan
Keywords:study abroad, program design, curricular, non-curricular, Japan
This paper aims to understand the mechanisms of how study abroad program design assists and hinders integration into the local student community and host society during the study abroad experience, focusing on a select US study abroad program in Japan over 50 years. The findings, based on 25 semi-structured in-depth interviews, suggest curricular as well as non-curricular experiences provide opportunities for integration into the host society. Furthermore, historical organizational changes in the study abroad program and internationalization aspirations of the host institution provide additional opportunities for integration. However, the findings also suggest difficulties in the process, particularly in relation to curricular elements and socio-cultural barriers. Finally, while on-site administrative staff can provide guidance, the presented results underline the importance of creating an atmosphere that promotes students’ independence.
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