The impacts of experiential learning travel courses on student education, professionalism, and interpersonal relationships

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Southern New Hampshire University
This research study aims to explore the academic, professional, and interpersonal impacts experiential learning travel courses are having on undergraduate college students. Current research demonstrates that many educational formats do not provide optimal educational outcomes to students. Empirical observations from multiple faculty suggest experiential learning travel courses do provide these outcomes as well as highly impactful lifelong skills. Focus groups with diverse populations were conducted with current students on how experiential learning travel courses (ELTC) impacted their education, career, and interpersonal relationships with other students and faculty. Faculty were surveyed on their perception of how students were impacted by these courses. The research collected from the focus groups was analyzed through a combination of thematic content and narrative analysis. Searching for insightful narratives and recurring themes allowed conclusions to be drawn about the overall academic, professional, and interpersonal impacts these experiential courses have on students. The research hypothesis of this study is that experiential learning travel courses will positively impact academic, professional, and interpersonal aspects of students’ lives and these aspects will interact with each other as well. The research aims to provide a better understanding of how experiential learning travel courses are impacting the lives of students who participate in such courses. (Author abstract)