Studying Abroad in Shanghai: Exploring How a Living-Learning Community Impacts Students’ Sociocultural Understandings of China
Keywords:higher education, study abroad, education, China, international programs, learning environments
This is a qualitative case study that explored how a study abroad program based in Shanghai impacted five undergraduates’ sociocultural understandings of China. The purpose of this study was to analyze how the different elements of a living-learning community (LLC) influenced students’ preconceptions about their host country. One university’s international program seamlessly blended coursework, discussion, and travel experiences in order to encourage students to make deep connections between them. Results found that the immersive nature of the LLC led to a transformative and high-impact experience, in which students were able to develop and document their cognitive and behavioral growth over time and change their previously held biases about their host country.