Intercultural wonderment and study abroad

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Although many findings related to study abroad point to the myriad benefits of such experiences, these studies focus more exclusively on direct effects (Engberg, 2013; Vande Berg, Connor-Linton, & Paige, 2009), overlooking a number of process-oriented variables that mediate the development of different outcomes associated with study abroad (Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005). Further, more recent publications have questioned whether study abroad experiences are ubiquitous in their benefits to all students (Salisbury, An, & Pascarella, 2013; Twombly, Salisbury, Tumanut, & Klute, 2012), suggesting a more nuanced approach is needed in identifying which aspects of the study abroad experience (e.g., program design, pedagogy, interactions with the host country) are most influential in predicting student learning and developmental outcomes. In this study, we introduce and examine the role of intercultural wonderment in fostering students’ development of a global perspective during a one semester study abroad experience. Intercultural wonderment encapsulates the underlying curiosity in individuals to seek out new and different experiences while studying abroad and involves a willingness and capacity to deal with discomfort and disequilibrium.



Study abroad, Intercultural wonderment, Student development, College students, Higher education, Wonderment


Engberg, M.E., & Jourian, T.J. Intercultural wonderment and study abroad. Frontiers: the Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 25 (2015): 1-19.. Retrieved from