Transformative learning: Participant perspectives on international experiential education

Loren Intolubbe-Chmil, Carol Anne Spreen, Robert J. Swap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Literature related to post-secondary education suggests that institutions of higher education have at their core 'a civic mission that calls on faculty, students, and administrators to apply their skills, resources, and talents to address important issues affecting communities, the nation, and the world' conceptualized as 'engaged scholarship' (Stanton, 2008). In this article we illustrate the ways in which one study abroad program embraces a model of engaged scholarship though connections to a broader cross-cultural and interdisciplinary network. We demonstrate how long-term international collaborations and field-based experiential learning opportunities between US and southern African institutions reflect core principles of relationships, respect and reciprocity, providing opportunities for purposeful and culturally grounded transformative student learning experiences. One key aspect of this network was to design study abroad opportunities that create pedagogical alternatives that influence civic identity development, build cultural competence, enhance notions of citizenship, and emphasize community engagement. This article presents the findings from a formative evaluation of the experiences of a number of the undergraduate students and others who have participated in the study abroad component of this network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Research in International Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • assessment
  • engaged scholarship
  • international education
  • transformative learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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