Students who travel with short-term (10 day) Penn State Brandywine Global programs gain a broader worldview as a result of their experience; this change is equivalent to the impact of participating in traditional semester-long study-abroad programs. Professors Daniela Martin (Penn State Brandywine) and David Livert (Penn State Lehigh Valley) compared Penn State students who participated in the shorter Brandywine program to students studying abroad for a traditional 15 week semester. They conducted online surveys before and after students' sojourn in which students answered questions related to their academic skills, ability to deal with people from different cultures and languages, and their general orientation to new experiences. Brandywine students participated in the 10-day embedded course abroad in countries including England and Greece. These students showed significant increases in intergroup understanding: the ability to understand the perspective of citizens of their host country. Drs. Martin and Livert are further investigating what type of student benefits from study abroad the most and how our campuses can best prepare our students for international travel.
Figure: Students' intercultural understanding before and after study abroad