API Research Initiatives
Over the past several years, the field of International Education has adopted a serious focus on articulating and documenting desirable outcomes of a study abroad experience. Many different approaches are exemplified in recent issues of Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, where researchers use the full range of quantitative and qualitative tools at their disposal to assess student learning abroad in multiple areas: second language acquisition abroad, accounting for learning across several domains, non-traditional students and programs, the impact of program duration, assessing curricular interventions, and more.
Inspired by such studies, and by additional work presented by colleagues at both NAFSA and CIEE conferences, API first launched our series of research initiatives in 2005 with a two-pronged approach to investigating students’ goals for and beliefs about living and learning abroad. We began by looking at past program evaluations to determine the most important learning opportunities that API students mentioned time and again, and highlighted these in a publication called “Student Learning Abroad”, which was issued to commemorate the Year of Study Abroad in 2006 and reissued in an expanded version in 2007. At the same time, from 2005 to 2007, we carried out a two‐year research project focused on “Goals Setting in Study Abroad”. Throughout this study, we aimed to get a greater sense of what students hoped to achieve while abroad in order to provide them with the support they needed to succeed on their own terms. Following on the Goals project, API continued our research initiatives with our “Global Perspectives” project, using the newly created Global Perspectives Inventory (GPI) and complementary open-ended queries to gain a sense of our students’ perceptions of “global citizenship” and “global competence”.
All API research projects are designed with a consciousness-raising component. We believe the act of encouraging our students to consider a given set of questions contributes to increasing their awareness of the issues themselves, and opens a space for dialogue that may otherwise have remained unexplored. We also consistently use our research results to inform the design of new resources and programming that can support our students in a more targeted manner and help them become more proactive and deliberate learners. In all our work, API is committed to facilitating student learning through a multifaceted approach which takes into account the objectives and beliefs of our students as well as best practices in the field of International Education.
If you would like more information on any of API’s research initiatives, please contact Dr. Vija G. Mendelson at vija @ apistudyabroad.com.
API Publications and Resources
- May 2010: “Global Perspectives”, brochure published by API for distribution to advisors and
university partners. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]
- January 2010: “NAFSA: Technology Taskforce Report” [Michael Bova, coauthor]
- May 2008: “Goals Setting in Study Abroad”, brochure published by API for distribution to advisors
and university partners. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]
- May 2007 and May 2008: “Student Learning Abroad”, brochure published by API for distribution to
students and university partners. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]
- May 2007: “In Focus: Flashes of Light” in International Educator. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]
- March 2007: “Educational ‘Connections’: Using Technology to Support Students’ Study Abroad
Experiences” in International Educator. [Vija G. Mendelson, contributing author]
- August 2006: “The Best Laid Plans: Goals Setting as a Tool for Student Learning in Study Abroad” in
IIENetwork.org online articles. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]
- May 2006: “Bringing it Home: Multifaceted Support for Returning Education Abroad Students” in
International Educator. [Vija G. Mendelson, contributing author]
- November 2005: “You Can Get There from Here: Top 10 Misconceptions about Studying Abroad”,
booklet published by the New England Area Study Abroad Advisors. [Vija G. Mendelson and Julie Leitman,
- October 2005: “Coming Home: Resources from the Metro Boston Students Study Abroad Reentry
Conference”. [Vija G. Mendelson, resource packet layout and design]
- July/August 2005: “Coming Home: Relationships, Roots, and Unpacking” in Transitions Abroad
(reprinted in the Fall 2005 issue of Abroad View). [Vija G. Mendelson, contributing author]
- Fall 2004: “ ‘Hindsight is 20/20:’ Student Perceptions of Language Learning and the Study Abroad
Experience” in Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. [Vija G. Mendelson, author]