Faculty Name: Douglas Challenger
Type of Presentation: Paper
Presentation Title: "A Semester on the Road to Santiago: The Long-term Impacts of Walking the Camino de Santiago with a Family-like Study Abroad Group"
Research findings are presented from a small, longitudinal study using qualitative data on the long-term impacts of a unique, semester-long, study abroad program at FPU where students study the history and contemporary renaissance of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage and then walk the entire route in northern Spain as pilgrims. Alumni who had participated in one of four trips conducted in the fall of 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017 were asked to respond to five open-ended questions about how their semester abroad impacted their lives, to what degree they thought their study-abroad group functioned as a “family” and how that impacted their experience. Twenty-one alumni responded to the questionnaire; all indicating to varying degrees that the program had life-changing impacts that had influenced and were continuing to shape their lives. Their responses are organized into seven themes that describe the long-term impacts of the program. The results are situated in the context of research on short and long-term impacts of study abroad and within the liberal education mission of U.S. institutions of higher education.
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