Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

International Educational Leadership

Department or School/College

College of Education and Human Sciences

Committee Chair

John Matt

Commitee Members

Nathan Lindsay, William McCaw, Paulo Zagalo-Melo, Andrea Vernon


University of Montana


Institutions of higher education are increasingly faced with global forces. Consequently, colleges and universities must internationalize in order to stay relevant when faced with global forces. One means by which post-secondary institutions are internationalizing is by offering students international service-learning experiences. During these experiences, students acquire intercultural competencies and a more in-depth understanding of the educational content delivered throughout their educational career. This qualitative phenomenological study explored the acquisition of intercultural competencies by twelve participants attending the University of Montana and Montana State University. Participants were interviewed, utilizing questions about the understanding of intercultural competencies, the acquisition of said competencies, institutional preparation for and follow-up of international service-learning experiences, and the impact of international service-learning experiences on subsequent coursework. The results of this study show that participants’ home institutions offered very little preparatory and follow-up intervention. Despite the lack of institutional intervention, participants acquired six intercultural competencies associated with this study and utilized self-guided reflection exercises to make sense of their shared experience after having returned to their home institution, which resulted in a more robust post-experience education. Additionally, participants re-evaluated professional and academic ambitions based on their exposure to social inequities and drastically different gender norms from those of their native cultures. The results of this study have implications for colleges and universities wishing to facilitate international service-learning opportunities for undergraduate students. Despite a lack of institutional interventions, participants were greatly impacted by their international service-learning experience, suggesting that the impacts might be more profound with additional institutional intervention.


© Copyright 2017 C. Roch Turner