Study Abroad and College Students of the African Diaspora: Attitudes, Access and Barriers


  • Michelle Renee Harris Sam Houston State University, USA
  • James W. Harris Sam Houston State University, USA



Study abroad, participation, African American students


This qualitative study examined the attitudes, preferences, and barriers to participation experienced by African American students attempting to participate in study abroad programs. A literature review indicates that African American students are grossly underrepresented in global education opportunities when compared with their overall enrollment numbers. Study abroad has been named as a valuable (both personally and academically) enriching experience granting competitive edges in postgraduate and professional endeavors in a globalized world. Twenty participants from purposively selected universities across the United States participated in a short-answer survey of either twelve or seven questions, depending on if they participated in a study abroad program or not. The results suggest that finances, institutional factors, and individual differences are significant factors in determining if an African American student will study abroad. Future studies tracking Black students’ active intent to study abroad, as well as those that do study abroad, can provide more insight to universities as they attempt to increase this group of students’ participations.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

  • Michelle Renee Harris, Sam Houston State University, USA

    MEd is the Global Programs Coordinator for all programs affiliated with the African Bioethics Consortium at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics. Her primary research/career focuses are international education program management, with special focus on minority, low-income, 1st generation, and other underrepresented groups’ participation in in global education opportunities.

  • James W. Harris, Sam Houston State University, USA

    Corresponding author. PhD. is an Associate Professor in the School of Teaching and Learning at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. His research focus is primarily centered on two topics. The first is sustainable development in agriculture and education in developing countries located primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. The second focus supports the first - right sizing animal traction agricultural implements developed and used by U.S. Amish farmers. This adaptation allows farmers in developing countries, whose primary source of power is either human or animal, to increase their food production and quality of life without the use of combustion engines.


Armstrong, G. K. (1984). Life after study abroad: A survey of undergraduate academic and career choices. The Modern Language Journal, 68(1), 1-6.

Barbuto Jr., J. E., Beenen, G., & Tran, H. (2015). The role of core self-evaluation, ethnocentrism, and cultural intelligence in study abroad success. The Journal of Management Education, 13, 268-277.

Brux, J. M., & Fry, B. (2010). Multicultural students in study abroad: Their interests, their issues, and their constraints. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 508-227.

Carlson, J. S., & Widaman, K. F. (1998). The effects of study abroad during college on attitudes toward other cultures. International Journal of Intercultural Relations.

Chieffo, L., & Griffiths, L. (2004). Large-scale assessment of student attitudes after a short-term study abroad program. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 165-177.

Dwyer, M. M. (2004). More is better: The impact of study abroad program duration. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 10, 151-163.

Dwyer, M. M., & Peters, C. K. (2004). The Benefits of study abroad: New study confirms significant gains. Retrieved from Transitions Abroad:

Educators, N. A. (2018). Trends in U.S, study abroad. Retrieved from NAFSA:

Engberg, M. E. (2013). The influence of study away experiences on global perspective-taking. Journal of College Student Development, 54(5), 466-480.

Giedt, T., Gokcek, G., & Ghosh, J. (2015). International education in the 21st Century: The importance of faculty in developing study abroad research opportunities. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 26, 167-186.

Gieser, J. D. (2015). A sociocultural investigation of identity: How students navigate the study abroad experience. Journal of College Student Development, 56(6), 637-643.

Goldstein, S. B., & Kim, R. I. (2006). Predictors of US college students’ participation in study abroad programs: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 30(4), 507-521.

Kadmar, N., & Lewis, T. (2015). Deriving long-term benefits from short-term study-abroad programs. The Journal of Management and Engineering Integration, 7(2), 1-11.

Kowarski, L. (2010). Colleges help students to translate the benefits of study abroad. Retrieved from The Chronicle of Higher Education:

Lee, C. S., Therriault, D. J., & Linderholm, T. (2012). On the cognitive benefits of cultural experience: Exploring the relationship between study abroad and creative thinking. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 26(5), 768-778.

Lee, J., & Green, Q. (2016). Unique opportunities: Influence of study abroad on black students. The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 28, 62-77.

Lewis, W. (2016). Study abroad influencing factors: An investigation of socio-economic status, cultural, and personal factors. Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal of the University of Northern Colorado, 5(3), 58-73.

Lu, C., Reddick, R., Dean, D., & Pecero, V. (2015). Coloring up studying abroad: Exploring black students’ decision to study in China. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 52(4), 440-451.

Luo, J., & Jamieson-Drake, D. (2015). Predictors of study abroad intent, participation, and college outcomes. Research in Higher Education, 56(1), 29-56.

M’Balia, T. (2013). The problematization of racial/ethnic minority student participation in U.S. study abroad. Applied Linguistics Review, 4(2), 365-390.

Norris, E. M., & Gillespie, J. (2008). How study abroad shapes global careers: Evidence from the United States. Journal of Studies in International Education, 13(3), 382-397.

Paige, R. M., Fry, G. W., Stallman, E. M., Josic, J., & Jon, J.-E. (2009). Study abroad for global engagement: The long-term impact of mobility experiences. Intercultural Education, 20((sup1)), S29-S44.

Petzold, K., & Peter, T. (2015). The social norm to sStudy abroad: Determinants and effects. Higher Education, 69(6), 885-900.

Potts, D. (2015). Understanding the early career benefits of learning abroad programs. Journal of Studies in International Education, 19(5), 441-459.

Salisbury, M. H., Paulsen, M. B., & Pascarella, E. T. (2011). Why do all the study abroad students look alike? Applying an integrated student choice model to explore differences in the factors that influence white and minotiry students’ intent to study abroad. Research in Higher Education, 52, 123-150.

Simon, J., & Ainswoth, J. W. (2012). Race and socioeconomic status differences in study abroad participation: The role of habitus, social networks, and cultural capital. International Scholarly Research Network.

Slotkin, M. H., Durie, C. J., & Eisenberg, J. R. (2012). The benefits of short-term study abroad as a blended learning experience. Journal of International Education in Business, 5(2), 163-173.

Slotkin, M. H., Vamosi, A. R., & Perez, E. M. (2016). Study tours and the diversification of cultural capital aAquisition. Journal of International Education in Business, 9(1), 70-86.

Smith, D. E., & Mitry, D. (2008). Benefits of study abroad and creating opportunities: The case for short-term programs. Journal of Research in Innovative Teaching, 1(1), 236-245.

Stroud, A. H. (2010). Who plans (not) to study abroad? An examination of U.S. student intent. Journal of Studies in International Education, 14(5), 491-507.

Wang, L. C., Gault, J. J., Christ, P., & Diggin, P. A. (2016). Individual attitudes and social influences on college students’ intent to participate in study abroad programs. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 26(1), 103-128.

Xiaoxuan, L. (2004). A study by the Chinese Academy of Sciences on the benefits of study abroad. Chinese Education and Society, 37(2), 61-87.

Zemach-Bersin, T. (2007). Global citizenship & study abroad: It’s all about U.S. Critical Literacy: Theories and Practices, 1(2), 16-29.







How to Cite

Study Abroad and College Students of the African Diaspora: Attitudes, Access and Barriers. (2019). Eastern European Journal of Transnational Relations, 3(2), 11-27.