University Students and Conceptions of Global Citizenship: A Case Study

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The past decade has witnessed exponential growth in study abroad participation. During these same years the promise that studying abroad will make students into Global Citizens has been a nearly ubiquitous feature in the promotion of the experience. Yet, Global Citizenship remains a highly contested concept that is rarely defined, adequately explained or explicitly aligned with programme outcomes. And among students as the main consumers of study abroad, little in the literature has documented how they conceive of the term. This paper details findings from in-­depth interviews with undergraduates who were asked to talk about how they define and understand Global Citizenship. Using variation theory and phenomenographic methodology, the study disclosed five distinct conceptions: 1) global existence; 2) global acquaintanceship; 3) global openness; 4) global participation; and 5) global commitment. These categories provide a student-­centered vocabulary that is grounded in empirically-­derived data study abroad providers can now use to align their promise of Global Citizenship with their desired programme outcomes

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  • 01/02/2019
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  • 10-001
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