Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Impacts of Study Abroad on Students' Academic Development, Global Perspective and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from U.S. Undergraduate Students

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jing Li, Columbia University
The increasing number of U.S. college students studying abroad raises policy concerns about students’ academic achievement at school and their future career development. A large body of literature examined how this overseas sojourn affects students’ language proficiency, personal growth and intercultural competencies, in addition, a few emerging studies found evidence of the impact of studying abroad on students’ career choices and future earnings. Overall, prior studies on study abroad provide a fuzzy picture of the effect of study abroad on students’ academic and personal growth. Moreover, the existing literature focus on those who opt in study abroad programs (always takers) but pay very little attention to the underrepresented population (never takers). 

Hence, this research builds up a comprehensive conceptual framework and endeavors to apply field experiment and quasi-experiment methods based on a large student population to determine the causality between students’ study abroad experience at college and the multi-dimensioned outcomes in their lives. This study uses most recent National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data to understand the behavior of study abroad activities, and their impacts on students’ at-college learning outcomes, and post-college labor market returns in the long run.

This research builds up analytical models to examine the following research questions: a) who are the never takers and what are their concerns? b) what’s the impact of study abroad experience on students' cognitive and non-cognitive skills development at college; and c) what's the impact of study abroad on students' post-college labor market outcomes?

To address these research questions, this study uses a set of quantitative research methods including OLS, instrumental variables, propensity score matching, principal component analysis, factor analysis, structural equation modeling, and path analysis.