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A Geographic Analysis of Cultural Immersion and Living Accommodations Through Study Abroad Programs

Authors: Megan Kenney*, SUNY - Geneseo
Topics: Cultural Geography
Keywords: Study Abroad, Culture, Cultural Immersion, Travel
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The purpose of this qualitative research project is to use online course descriptions to explore levels of cultural immersion in Study Abroad programs administered through the SUNY system. I have conducted a content analysis of the textual data derived from a SUNY Study Abroad website. An emphasis is placed on the significance of living accommodations and how they relate to cultural immersion during study abroad programs.
The significance of this research stems from the assumed expectation by Study Abroad programs that students will engage in culturally immersive learning experiences abroad. This project may provide the SUNY system with the information necessary to create a more well rounded cultural experience for the Study Abroad participants in the future. Additionally, I hope to reveal whether or not there are certain global regions that provide more culturally immersive experiences than others.
The data are derived from online course descriptions on the SUNY Study Abroad website. These program descriptions include living accommodations offered, host institution, language of instruction, and whether or not the program provides excursions. I have drawn meaningful conclusions regarding the importance of a “host family” stay for an enriching and culturally immersive experience abroad. A spatially significant result is that programs offered in Central and South American locations typically offer “host-family” stays, resulting in more culturally immersive experiences.

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