Date of Award


Degree Name

PhD Leadership Studies

Dissertation Committee

Cheryl Getz, Ed.D., Noriyuki Inoue, Ph.D., Christopher Newman, Ph.D.


college students, cultural competence, second-year college students, short-term study abroad


Globalization and the development of cultural competence have become increasingly important in our pluralistic society. The ability to effectively interact with, understand, and make meaning of our experiences in a global setting is a critical learning outcome in order to address the complex issues of society. Higher education associations have deemed intercultural competence as an important outcome for graduates and international education is often a key strategy to realizing this goal. Increasingly over the past ten years, the second-year of college stands out as being developmentally significant by higher education scholars and practitioners. As second-year students experience and question the complexity of the self and the world as they progress into adulthood, institutions of higher education have a responsibility to support and facilitate this process.

The purpose of this mixed-methods, quasi-experimental study was to investigate the development of intercultural maturity in second year college students -- both those who complete a short-term study abroad experience and those who remain on campus. Pre-test, post-test, and three-month follow-up post-test data were collected using the Global Perspective Inventory (GPI). Using descriptive and inferential statistics, this study compared the changes in cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal development of the participants.

The results demonstrated a statistically significant growth in intercultural maturity directly after the three-week study abroad program for the study abroad students. However, the three-month follow-up survey showed that students who studied abroad had the same mean score for intercultural maturity as the control group by the end of their second year in college. This research also examined which social identities, campus involvement, and behaviors in college may be correlated to the development of intercultural maturity. Ethnicity, socio-economic status, parental education, and faculty-related engagement showed some level of significance, however, these factors were independent from the short-term study abroad program for second-year college students. The results of this study contribute to the existing literature surrounding the development of cultural competence, the growing knowledge of second-year college student development, and short-term study abroad programs. This research also provides universities with an improved understanding of curricular and co-curricular efforts that aid in the development of intercultural maturity.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access


Leadership Studies