Assessing value and effectiveness of study abroad and exchange programmes in foreign language degree programmes at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus
As study abroad efforts take on increased importance globally, it is vital that we use the resources of the academy to research the impact and effectiveness of these programmes (Lederman, 2007). For this paper, action research was used to assess all aspects of the varied exchange (EXC) programmes and study abroad (SA) programmes that exist at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus. Data were collected from among students in the French and Spanish programmes. While many students lauded the broad intentions of the programmes, it was found that the impact of these international experiences on student learning has not to date been assessed with an aim to making interventions in the varied programmes. The study seeks to assess the academic benefit of the programmes while at the same time assess the value-added aspects of the programmes. As Vande Berg indicates, to simply send students to a location abroad for academic study is not sufficient toward facilitating the larger goal of creating effective global citizenship. Findings from this research lend empirical support to the notion that study abroad and exchange programmes at all levels facilitate the creation of global citizens. Additionally, it must be noted that it is not enough to send students to study abroad without intentional pedagogy focused on outcomes of intercultural effectiveness.