Traveling, Living and Learning in a Diverse Setting: The China Study Abroad Programme

By Cheryl Craig and Yali Zou.

Published by The International Journal of Diverse Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 30, 2015 $US5.00

This study captures what is learned when preservice and practicing teachers and educational leaders participate in travel study abroad programs in diverse settings. Revolving around the China Study Abroad, a program that has existed since 1990 at the University of Houston (a U.S. research-intensive institution), the work discusses the merits of travel study, the importance of cultural competence and the role of experience in travel study abroad programs. Through the use of the narrative inquiry research method, three exemplars are presented that illuminate the freshly forged understandings of the China Study Abroad participants between 2005 and 2012. These narrative exemplars pertain to world traveling, I-It/I-Thou and liminal spaces, concepts borrowed from Lugones (philosophy, women’s studies), Buber (theology), and Turner (anthropology) respectively. These storied exemplars capture participants’ face-to-face encounters with religion, poverty and the Great Wall of China. These experiences in the cultural therapy vein result in personal growth and provide a unique opportunity for educators’ professional development. In sum, the China Study Abroad program transcends borders and boundaries and opens up new ways of understanding cultural phenomena different than one’s own thinking and being.

Keywords: Travel Study Abroad, China Study Abroad, Intercultural Learning, Cultural Competence, World Traveling, Narrative Inquiry

The International Journal of Diverse Identities, Volume 15, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.23-36. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 30, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 364.116KB)).

Dr. Cheryl Craig

Professor, Coordinator of Teaching and Teacher Education, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA

Dr. Yali Zou

Professor, Director of the Asian American Study Center, Department of Educational Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, Texas, USA