Discovering the Mark



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Cultural Intelligence development is a necessary for students entering the increasingly global work force. This study quantifies and highlights specific areas of cultural learning students who participate in a ten-day study abroad experience as compared to their peers. In this study, the independent variable is a dichotomous measure (study abroad participation versus not) and the dependent variable is cultural intelligence. In this sense, the study explores the degree of student development because of the experience. Data collection for this project was accomplished by administering an online survey to Dr. Swinder Janda's three sections of International Marketing students. Two of the sections met on campus throughout the semester, but the third only met weekly and then have a ten-day trip abroad. This project found significant increases in all four cultural intelligence categories before and after studying abroad. A short-term study abroad experience enhances a student’s capability to experience cultural differences first hand, the level of appreciation for cultural differences and how to navigate these differences becomes more important for the student. It also shows that after being abroad students become more aware to the minor and major differences between various cultures. After experiencing the needed levels of consciousness to various details it heightens a student’s attention during interactions. Students were also challenged to begin operating within a different culture which forced their cultural knowledge of norms, practices, and conventions knowledge to increase. Through living in another society, they develop the skills necessary to interact with people from different cultural backgrounds and gradually improve their cultural intelligence across all four categories.