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What a difference a year makes: Transformation in a gap year abroad

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Abstract:

In an increasingly interdependent world, the ability to skillfully navigate an array of cultures and understand one’s responsibilities within global contexts is imperative. Many organizations are responding to this need with study abroad and international exchange programs, most of which aim to increase levels of intercultural sensitivity while cultivating an identity of global citizenship in young people. At the same time, the trend of high school graduates taking time off, or a gap year, before entering college is also spreading from European countries to America. At the nexus of the rise in gap years and the need for global skills lies a budding organization called Global Citizen Year (GCY). Global Citizen Year sends high school graduates on year-long trips to developing countries. Fellows in the program spend that year living with a local family and working on a service-oriented project. This paper presents a case study of GCY’s fellows and investigates their transformation abroad and the impacts of their experiences. Research draws from pre and post trip surveys, application essays, blogs maintained throughout the year abroad, and in-depth interviews. The research is situated in theories of global competency from the fields of study abroad and service-learning research, social identity formation theories, and frameworks of global citizenship and cosmopolitanism. The insights reached through this case study highlight the possible benefits and disadvantages with programs that aim to connect abroad experiences, global competency, and gap years, along with informing readers of how these three components are significantly linked.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492934_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Suhendra, Maureen. "What a difference a year makes: Transformation in a gap year abroad" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492934_index.html>

APA Citation:

Suhendra, M. "What a difference a year makes: Transformation in a gap year abroad" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p492934_index.html

Publication Type: Panel Paper
Abstract: In an increasingly interdependent world, the ability to skillfully navigate an array of cultures and understand one’s responsibilities within global contexts is imperative. Many organizations are responding to this need with study abroad and international exchange programs, most of which aim to increase levels of intercultural sensitivity while cultivating an identity of global citizenship in young people. At the same time, the trend of high school graduates taking time off, or a gap year, before entering college is also spreading from European countries to America. At the nexus of the rise in gap years and the need for global skills lies a budding organization called Global Citizen Year (GCY). Global Citizen Year sends high school graduates on year-long trips to developing countries. Fellows in the program spend that year living with a local family and working on a service-oriented project. This paper presents a case study of GCY’s fellows and investigates their transformation abroad and the impacts of their experiences. Research draws from pre and post trip surveys, application essays, blogs maintained throughout the year abroad, and in-depth interviews. The research is situated in theories of global competency from the fields of study abroad and service-learning research, social identity formation theories, and frameworks of global citizenship and cosmopolitanism. The insights reached through this case study highlight the possible benefits and disadvantages with programs that aim to connect abroad experiences, global competency, and gap years, along with informing readers of how these three components are significantly linked.


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