Navigating Ambiguity, Inspiring Career Pivots, and Engaging in Critical Action: Leveraging Critical Consciousness with Education Abroad Alumni

Abstract

This study considers the experience of education abroad alumni through a social justice lens. We leverage literature that places systemic change at the fore, underscoring the importance of addressing deeply ingrained attitudes, behaviors, and perceptions that perpetuate systemic inequalities or hinder progress. Practitioners and scholars have called into question the problematic, essentialist roots of study abroad while advocating for increased accessibility to education abroad. Building upon this priority, this article is oriented with a critical consciousness framework. The findings show the profound transformative impact of the study abroad experience on the personal lives of alumni, the level of career integration in their professional development, and the direct correlation between program design as it relates to social justice orientations. This project addresses a gap in the scholarship by focusing on longitudinal, qualitative data for action and the influence of alumni in increasing access to education abroad for the next generation.

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