A Reflection on the Nature of Teaching and Learning in the Context of Study Abroad

  • Mark D. Olson Illinois State University
Keywords: travel, Japan, study abroad, autoethnography, cultural humility, cultural competency


As educators are increasingly called upon to integrate international content into curricula to reflect the world’s growing interconnectedness, study abroad programs have become an integral part of higher education across disciplines. Education abroad provides an invaluable method of offering experiential learning to enhance students’ awareness and understanding of multicultural issues. However, the degree of intercultural learning obtained has been questioned, particularly within today’s corporatized model of higher education and its emphasis on student recruitment and retention. Critics have likened today’s study abroad students to privileged tourists, having limited opportunities for engagement and understanding of diverse people and cultures. This paper uses an autoethnographic approach to explore a six-week summer semester in Japan. I, the author, examine the nature of teaching and learning within the context of study abroad.