TRANSFORMING WORLDVIEWS ONE SOJOURNER AT A TIME:
A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY ON THE TRANSFORMATIONAL NATURE OF SHORT-TERM STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCES AT A COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Lisa M Dohm
Central Michigan University
Ms. Dohm worked with Fellows from the 2015 Northwestern Michigan team to complete her PhD research. Fellows completed interviews, questionnaires, kept journals and shared details on their experiences in the program. Participants in the study confirmed they experienced a transformation and felt like they gained an expanded worldviews. Ms Dohm’s research findings help to validate the effectiveness of our leadership model and impact of our Fellowship on participants. A summary of her research follows:
The findings of this study indicate that short-term study abroad experiences are highly individualized with all participants experiencing a transformation. The most transformational experiences include those that recognized the importance of existing relationships, but also included the development of new relationships. Increased self-confidence was also transformational according to the participants. All participants identified intercultural awareness and development specifically related to the ability to overcome challenges and a self-awareness regarding the expansion of worldviews and global mindedness. Finally, the findings illuminate the emotional dimension of sojourners as they experiences disruptive positive and negative experiences.