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Educational travel: developing international competencies (English version)


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Innovations in transport and information communication technology have led to an ever expanding global perspective and playing field, for both business and citizens. Educational institutes play an important role in preparing students for this new reality. One way of doing this is for students to engage in educational travel experiences. Indeed, over the past two decades increasing numbers of students participated in study abroad programs, study tours, international internships and relatively new short-term programs such as international research projects. Yet, at the same time, globalization seems to have reduced some of the traditional benefits of educational travel, as the challenge of adapting to a different cultural environment has become easier than it has been in the past. Equally, there is a need to reconsider the competencies that educational travel should develop, as there is a noticeable shift towards pointing out the professional relevance of these experiences. The aim of this research is to work towards a competence framework and investigate how the learning of competencies is related to overcoming cultural distance. Based on these findings, implications for learning programs are formulated.

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Educational travel: developing international competencies (English version)

  1. 1. 1. Introduction 2. Objectives 3. Research method 4. Findings 5. Theoretical and practical implications Content E. van 't Klooster
  2. 2. Towards an international perspective
  3. 3. Opportunities 1) International business 2) Discover new ways of living E. van 't Klooster
  4. 4. Ontological insecurity 1) International value chains, global reorganizations, interdependent markets. 2) Global power is shifting from West to East. Cultural differences increase the chance of conflicts in international business and politics. E. van 't Klooster
  5. 5. Higher Education and Internationalization  Educational travel: • Study abroad • International internship • Study tour • International research project.  It is unclear what competencies should be learned. E. van 't Klooster
  6. 6. Research objectives 1) Which competencies are developed? 2) How does cultural distance influence the learning of competencies? 3) What are the practical implications for learning programs? E. van 't Klooster
  7. 7. Relevance 1) Education: Increase effectiveness and efficiëncy of the learning experience. 2) Students: Articulate learning experience towards recruiters. 3) Business: More students with international work experience. 4) Government: Prepare students for an uncertain and international society. E. van 't Klooster
  8. 8. Research method Literature study 1) Educational travel 2) Expatriates 3) Management skills 4) Learning Empirical research 1) 967 questionnaires among international interns 2) 116 evaluation reports of participants in the ‘International Research Project’ E. van 't Klooster
  9. 9. Findings competence framework 1) Cross-cultural competencies 2) Management competencies 3) Personal development E. van 't Klooster
  10. 10. Cross-cultural competencies Relationship Foreign language proficiency Factual cultural knowledge Relationship efficacy Perceptual Conceptual cultural knowledge Contextual cultural knowledge E. van 't Klooster
  11. 11. Management competencies Technical knowledge Quantitative skills Functional knowledge International business knowledge Intrapersonal Problem solving skills Interpersonal Collaboration Communication E. van 't Klooster
  12. 12. Personal development Independence Flexibility Self awareness Expanded view of the self Self-assurance Expanded worldview Perceptual questioning skills Awareness of the state of the world E. van 't Klooster
  13. 13. Cultural distance Huntington, S. P. (1993). The clash of civilizations. Foreign Affairs 72(3): 22-49. E. van 't Klooster
  14. 14. Theoretical implications My research confirms that: 1. Students learn a significant amount of competencies during educational travel experiences. 2. The learning process is hampered by: • Spending too little time abroad. • Staying in an ‘expat bubble’. • Poor quality of employment. 3. A support structure would help students to gain more from their international experience. E. van 't Klooster
  15. 15. Implications for learning programs The importance of reflective learning: 1) Assess the progress made in competence learning. 2) To understand initially vague concepts such as underlying cultural values. 3) Realistically assess the learning process. E. van 't Klooster
  16. 16. For more information: Erik van ‘t Klooster Puntegaalstraat 45 3024 EB Rotterdam The Netherlands Telephone: +316-54386822 Email: Website: