Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Deborah Worley

Second Advisor

Cheryl Hunter


This qualitative, phenomenological study examines the long-term impacts of study abroad on the lives of alumni who participated in the Oxford Eurospring study abroad program through two Midwest regional universities at some point from 1981-2001. Adding to the existing literature on overall impacts of study abroad, this study investigates the phenomenon of the long-term impacts of study abroad experience on the lives of alumni since their time abroad – using a conceptual framework of personal, professional, civic, and global impacts.

This study utilizes phenomenological methods and analysis in tracing the lives of study abroad alumni since their time abroad to understand how their lived experiences since studying abroad impacted their current lives. Additionally, this study addresses a gap in the current literature, utilizing qualitative inquiry to gather data through multiple in-depth interviews with thirteen Oxford Eurospring study abroad alumni, to better understand the long-term impacts of study abroad on their lives, after 16-36 years had elapsed since their study abroad experiences.

The findings indicate positive, long-term, transformational, and intergenerational impacts on the lives of Oxford Eurospring study abroad alumni. The findings also indicate three additional themes consistent with all participants: Perseverance in achieving study abroad goals, exploration and a love for travel, and lifestyle choices that were reflective of their study abroad experiences. The results of this study provide evidence of the positive transformational and intergenerational impacts of study abroad. They also support outreach to and expansion of study abroad programs to first-generation college students.