An international business study tour: A student perspective

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Research and Development in Higher Education Vol. 33 : Reshaping Higher Education

July, 2010, 654 pages
Published by
M. Devlin, J. Nagy and A. Lichtenberg
0 908557 80 9

Students with international study exposure appeal to organisations seeking employees with broader perspectives. As a result many universities seek to provide opportunities for students to differentiate themselves in this respect. An International Study Tour to Asia has been successfully operating at Swinburne University of Technology for a number of years, and anecdotal information from both the students and staff accompanying the tour is that it has been successful in exposing students to international business and different cultures, albeit at the cost of high levels of stress for some students. During 2008, a research project was initiated, where past students were interviewed to ascertain their perspectives of the professional and personal impact on them from participating in the study tour. This paper reports on the outcomes from interviews with the 2008 students. While all students felt they benefited professionally from participation in the tour, students were polarised about the level of individual scaffolding required. Students who had had no prior experience of other cultures or of international travel experienced severe culture shock and unexpectedly high levels of homesickness, indicating that these students may require additional personal support both prior to and during the tour.

Keywords: study tour, student experience