The First Time Effect

The Impact of Study Abroad on College Student Intellectual Development

By Joshua S. McKeown

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership, Educational Assessment And Evaluation, Higher Education, Educational Psychology
Paperback : 9780791493601, 170 pages, January 2009
Hardcover : 9780791493595, 170 pages, January 2009

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Table of contents

List of Tables
1. A New Look at Study Abroad
2. Student Development on Study Abroad
3. Focusing on Today’s Students
4. The Experience of First Time Travelers
5. Challenge of a Lifetime
Appendix A.1: Schools Involved in the Study
Appendix A.2: Institutional Review Board Results
Appendix A.3: Script for Participating Schools
Appendix B: Pilot Test and Follow-up Testing
Appendix C: Questionnaire
Appendix D: Pilot Research Project Results
Appendix E: Study Limitations

A fresh look at study abroad programs on American college and university campuses.


Study abroad programs on American college and university campuses are booming, with a national goal of sending abroad one million students within ten years. In this timely and thought-provoking look at the benefits of studying abroad, Joshua S. McKeown moves beyond the acknowledged cultural and linguistic benefits to focus on how it promotes intellectual growth in participating students. He shows that for some students—particularly those without substantial prior international experience—study abroad is associated with significant gains in intellectual development. For those students who have traveled abroad previously, the same does not hold true. It is those students who lack meaningful international exposure who seem to benefit most from studying abroad. The First Time Effect describes in a straightforward way what is happening with today's study abroad students and holds broad implications for education policy and practice.

Joshua S. McKeown is Director of International Education and Programs and an instructor in the Global and International Studies Department at the State University of New York at Oswego.


"This book would be helpful to administrators and faculty who want to explore and respond to assessment issues associated with study abroad programs. It supplies a clear argument that is backed by evidence from eight universities." — Teaching Theology and Religion

"As colleges seek ways to both engage students in learning and prepare them for careers in a global marketplace, study abroad experiences may become increasingly attractive. The First Time Effect offers some useful food for thought in designing or redesigning those experiences to ensure that programs help students achieve the outcomes educators intend." — E-Source

"By reading this book, students, parents, faculty, and administrators will all learn more about how studying abroad and student intellectual development are related." — Sheila Mehta-Green, Nichols College