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Study abroad can be transformative, especially for students experiencing it for the first time. Program designers must align the “study” part with the “abroad” part of the program. To investigate what students take away from study abroad, years after their programs, we conducted in-depth surveys of 23 students who completed study abroad programs from 2009 to 2018. Our findings indicate the academic component of the program was far less salient than the personal growth of the experience. Program designers must link the personal growth experiences of study abroad to the academic content such that students can benefit from both.
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