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Reports & Research

July 15, 2010


NAFSA Annual Conference report...

"At Risk" Students Benefit:

Research Suggests Study Abroad Helps Improve, Rather Than Hinder, Academic Performance

The University System of Georgia has released a study finding that students who study abroad have improved academic performance upon returning to the home campus and higher graduation rates.

The GLOSSARI project – Georgia Learning Outcomes of Students Studying Abroad Research Initiative – also found that studying abroad helps, rather than hinders, academic performance of at risk students.

“The conventional wisdom is that students who are at risk should be discouraged from studying abroad altogether,” according to Don Rubin, professor emeritus of speech communication and language education at the University of Georgia and research director for GLOSSARI. “But this suggests that study abroad can actually be an intervention to enhance the success for college students who are at-risk. Rather than derailing them, rather than diverting them, it actually focuses them.”

“I think if there's one take-home message from this research as a whole it is that study abroad does not undermine educational outcomes, it doesn't undermine graduation rate, it doesn't undermine final semester GPA. It's not a distraction,” Rubin said.

The GLOSSARI project was funded in part by a $547,000 U.S. Department of Education grant, which expired June 30. Their data collection work completed, the researchers are now making the GLOSSARI database available to other researchers to pursue further questions.

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