ACM Pedagogic Resources > Learning from Study Abroad > Background

Learning from Study Abroad Workshops

The Study Abroad Learning and Cost Alliance, funded by the Teagle Foundation in 2009, is a cooperative project shared by the Great Lakes Colleges Association (GLCA), ACM, and the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts. The project builds upon a previous Teagle-funded initiative involving the ACM and GLCA with the Associated Colleges of the South that constructed the intellectual framework for the LSA survey and then the survey itself. Visit the ACM website for more information about the initial tri-consortial project.

The Alliance project addresses a number of interrelated questions:

  • To what extent does a study abroad experience contribute to the learning goals of the liberal arts?
  • Are there particular study abroad program attributes (e.g., home stay, length of program, language requirements, etc.) that have greater or lesser impact on the achievement of liberal arts learning goals?
  • How do the learning outcomes derived from study abroad relate to the growing body of information on liberal arts learning from campus-based aspects of the educational experience?
  • What are the actual costs of study abroad programs to a college or university, and how do these costs vary by program type?
  • What changes in study-abroad program design can make them both more effective in accomplishing liberal arts learning goals and more cost efficient?

Elements of the LSA survey

The LSA Survey is taken online at the beginning and end of an off-campus study program. The pre-program survey includes:

  • Demographic information and information about foreign-language study
  • Study-abroad interest and prior study-aboard experience
  • 24 scenarios and 24 statements

The post-program survey includes:

  • Study-away details (location and program provider; length of program; requirement; orientation; courses and curriculum; evaluation of work; educational relationships; out-of-class interactions; housing arrangements; and post-experience de-briefing)
  • Self-assessments (study-abroad experiences; self-assessment of experiences; post-return experiences)
  • The same 24 scenarios and 24 statements as the pre-program survey