Abstract: Students returning from an international business study tour program were interviewed about their experiences and perceptions of the professional and personal impact of the program. When interviews were conducted within 3-4 months of the students’ return, mixed responses were received, with some students highly positive about their experiences, but other students highly distressed about the level of independence required of them. When students were consulted two to six years after the completion of the program, including re-interviewing the initial study participants, students appeared more able to appreciate the benefits of the program. This was evident in their responses that highlighted an improvement in discipline-based knowledge, a better understanding of personal and intercultural issues, and the further development of their generic academic skills. Negative emotions had all but disappeared from students’ responses. While these findings are from small sample sizes and are not conclusive, the results raise important questions about the timing of critical program evaluations.
Authors: Mark Tucker and Debbi Weaver Swinburne University of Technology