The Effects of Studying Abroad on College Students' Self-knowledge, Self-efficacy, and Perceptions of Social Support

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Higher Education | International and Comparative Education | Psychology


Richard Wielkiewicz


The effects of college/university sponsored study abroad programs on college students' self-esteem, self-confidence, and perceived social support were examined in relationship to the phenomenon of cultural reentry shock. The participants were 75 students who participated in study abroad programs, and 34 students from the same schools, who remained on campus. Surveys were sent to these students before and after the study abroad experience. Results indicated that students who studied abroad did not differ in self-esteem, self-confidence, or social support from those who remained on campus. Students of both groups reported an increase in perceived social support on the post-travel survey. In addition, exploratory research was conducted on students' answers to an open-ended question regarding their return experiences. The relationship of these findings to other work on cultural reentry shock was discussed, along with suggestions for future research.