Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Higher Education

First Advisor's Name

Benjamin Baez

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Norma Goonen

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Rebekah Schulze

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Hilary Landorf

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


higher education

Date of Defense



As colleges and universities are internationalizing their curriculum, there is a growing need for student affairs professionals to also become aware of and be familiar with internationalization and to become players in the global society. The present study focused on 12 participants who are currently student affairs professionals. The research focused on gaining an understanding and awareness of the role that international study tour experiences have on the professional and personal development of student affairs professionals. A qualitative research design was used for the study. Kolb’s Experiential Learning theory was used as the conceptual framework to explain the participants' experiences during their international study tour. Four different four-year public institutions served as the international study tour host institutions of the participants for this study - Bowling Green State University, Central Michigan University, Florida State University, and Miami University. For this study 12 participants were interviewed via semi-structured interviews using online technology of All interviews were transcribed and analyzed. Findings indicated that the international study tour experiences are supported by Kolb’s Experiential Learning theory as participants in the study expressed that the entire experience of a tour is active learning. The study supports existing literature that international study tours further the personal and professional development of those student affairs professionals who participate. The following themes emerged from this study: transformational experiences; global awareness; intercultural communication; career paths; and, self-growth. Another research finding is that student affairs professionals who participant in a study tour express an expanded self-confidence that helps them to articulate what they learned and experienced. Several participants expressed that, as a result of their study tour experience, they had a sense of personal growth in various aspects of their lives. Recommendations include increasing the number of student affairs professionals attending international study tours, encouraging student affairs professionals to share the information learned from their visits, and exhorting participants to implement programs and ideas they gathered from their tours.





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