Masters Thesis

How to increase student engagement in study abroad at the California State University, Bakersfield

Much has been said and written about the necessity of universities to help students develop the skills and attitudes which will allow them to function successfully in an interdependent and interconnected world. Study abroad programs encompass this general purpose and complement the traditional goals of higher education. The political, economic and educational values of an international experience are well known. However, there's a disproportion between the support and the number of students who study abroad, less than two percent of undergraduates in the United States study abroad. Mainly because study abroad is yet to become a widespread view among college students, directly affecting the efforts put forth by higher education institutions to increase student engagement in study abroad. Improving student interest and participation in study abroad goes beyond a schools’ study abroad office/ department (NAFSA, 2008), cooperation and communication among departments are crucial. Institutions have to commit to the advancement of study abroad for improving student engagement in study abroad. At the California State University, Bakersfield, study abroad is yet to become a popular choice; in fact, less than thirty students apply a year. Over the last decade, 132 CSUB students have applied to study abroad, but only 50 participated in the program. The lack of student engagement in international studies is a problem, which is a consequent of efforts made forth by the institution as a whole. The proposal will help increase student engagement in study abroad at CSUB by examining the current practices being used by the International Students and Programs (ISP) office to promote and educate students regarding international opportunities and present more efficient ways to target students.

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