Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

The Role of Personality and Cultural Intelligence in the Desire to Study Abroad

Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Psychology

First Advisor

Alan M. Gross

Second Advisor

Scott A. Gustafson

Third Advisor

Michael T. Allen

Abstract

Study abroad during undergraduate education is believed to be a means by which students develop intercultural skills and cultural competence. Previous studies have examined benefits of study abroad and report growth in the areas of cross-cultural skills, global understanding, intercultural development, and intercultural connectedness. However, students who choose to go abroad may have different characteristics than students who do not choose to go. Such characteristics may predispose students to the development of the above-mentioned cultural skills. The current study assessed personality and Cultural Intelligence, two constructs that have been implicated in the success of and interest in international travel, in 188 undergraduate students. Participants completed measures of personality, Cultural Intelligence, previous multicultural experiences, and desire and intent to study abroad as an undergraduate student. Previous multicultural experience and the personality factor of Openness accounted for more than half of the variance in overall Cultural Intelligence scores. The personality factor of Openness was a significant predictor of intent to study abroad, but neither personality factors nor facets of Cultural Intelligence were able to predict desire to study abroad beyond the variance accounted for by previous multicultural experience. Implications for these findings are discussed.

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