Short-Term Travel Abroad To Uganda & Guatemala: A Preliminary Assessment Of Student Transformative Learning

John Wood, Ph.D., Jarrett Jobe




We take a cumulative case studies approach to explore transformative learning in the areas of service learning, global competencies, and leadership through travel abroad course trips to Uganda (May 2016, 2017) and Guatemala (March 2017). These courses took students on service learning trips to educate and develop their knowledge and experiences related to the Central Six learning tenets at the University of Central Oklahoma. Student’s primary emphasis for these experiences was the completion of a service focused project in partnership with a local organization. In addition to these projects, students engaged in cultural learning activities and programs focused on local customs and experiences. In Uganda, students partnered with St. Monica’s Tailoring School/Sewing Hope Foundation to support their educational and civic efforts in the communities of Gulu and Atiak. In Guatemala, students partnered with Habitat with Humanity’s Global Village program. In both tours with different students, we assessed whether students have exhibited indications of expanded perspectives by conducting a post experience, transformative learning assessment tool and by looking for evidence in student journaling using our Student Transformative Learning Record (STLR) rubric. We compared the trips to better assess their transformative potential for students. The research is valuable as little to no work has examined pairing transformative learning and short-term student travel abroad. We do find indications of transformation in students on both trips, especially through global and intercultural awareness.


travel abroad, transformative learning, students

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