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Impacts of short-term study abroad program on students' understanding of space and place in China

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Title:
Impacts of short-term study abroad program on students' understanding of space and place in China
Creator:
Zabarauskas, Tirzia Marie ( author )
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
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University of Colorado Denver
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English
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Master's ( Master of arts)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Applied geography and geospatial sciences

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Foreign study ( lcsh )
Cognitive maps (Psychology) ( lcsh )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Review:
Previous research has demonstrated that study abroad programs provide students with a range of benefits, and that these benefits can transform learners into global citizens. Current research is heavily qualitative and anecdotal. While this type of research is important, there is a lack of quantitative analysis of gains through travel study. Even less is known about short-term study abroad programs lasting only a few weeks. Sustainability along the Yangtze is a short-term program offered by University of Colorado's Geography and Environmental Sciences department. As the explicit goal of the course is to support goals of its home department, Geography and Environmental Sciences, the current study aimed to determine what impact the program had on students' understandings in space and place in China through a series of mapping exercises, surveys, and interviews. This work showed that participants' geographic knowledge increased, and they could more accurately map cities traveled through, despite the fact that maps were not used as part of the curriculum. Students' understandings of culture shifted and they gained an overall more positive perception of China and Chinese culture. This research may inform additional study to better understand how knowledge of space and place is influenced through short-term study abroad programs.
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Includes bibliographical references.
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System requirements: Adobe Reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tirzia Marie Zabarauskas.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
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on10218 ( NOTIS )
1021885846 ( OCLC )
on1021885846
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LD1193.L68 2017m Z44 ( lcc )

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Full Text
IMPACTS OF A SHORT-TERM STUDY
ABROAD PROGRAM ON STUDENTS
UNDERSTANDING OF SPACE AND PLACE IN CHINA
by
TIRZHA MARIE ZABARAUSKAS B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2015
A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts
Applied Geography and Geospatial Sciences Program
2017


2017
TIRZHA MARIE ZABARAUSKAS
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Tirzha Marie Zabarauskas has been approved for the
Applied Geography and Geospatial Science Program
by
Peter J. Anthamatten, Chair Bryan S. Wee Sharon D. Unkart
Date: December 16, 2017


Zabarauskas, Tirzha Marie (M.A. Applied Geography and Geospatial Science Program) Impacts of a Short-term Study Abroad Program on Students Understanding of Space and Place in China
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Peter J. Anthamatten
ABSTRACT
Previous research has demonstrated that study abroad programs provide students with a range of benefits, and that these benefits can transform learners into global citizens. Current research is heavily qualitative and anecdotal. While this type of research is important, there is a lack of quantitative analysis of gains through travel study. Even less is known about shortterm study abroad programs lasting only a few weeks. Sustainability along the Yangtze is a short-term program offered by University of Colorados Geography and Environmental Sciences department. As the explicit goal of the course is to support goals of its home department, Geography and Environmental Sciences, the current study aimed to determine what impact the program had on students understandings in space and place in China through a series of mapping exercises, surveys, and interviews. This work showed that participants geographic knowledge increased, and they could more accurately map cities traveled through, despite the fact that maps were not used as part of the curriculum. Students understandings of culture shifted and they gained an overall more positive perception of China and Chinese culture. This research may inform additional study to better understand how knowledge of space and place is influenced through short-term study abroad programs.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication.
Approved: Peter Anthamatten
IV


The best education I have ever received was through travel. -Lisa Ling For Anna: Never stop exploring.
v


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This thesis would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of many individuals. I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to all of them.
First and foremost, I would not have been able to accomplish this without the understanding of my family. Their support was unwavering through long days and nights in front of a computer screen and weeks away in China. They helped move schedules around and pick up the pieces I couldnt carry at home while finishing this research.
I owe my sincerest thanks to my thesis committee. Deepest thanks to Dr. Peter Anthamatten, whose steadfast enthusiasm and backing for this research pushed me to complete what I wasnt sure I could. Id like to also recognize Dr. Bryan Wee for lending a library of literature and providing pep talks throughout the semesters to keep me going. Last but not least, my thanks to Dr. Sharon Unkart for lending her expertise and providing valuable resources for this endeavor. I could not have accomplished this research, nor would it have become what it did, without this team by my side.
Finally, I wish to thank my participants for sharing a part of their travel study experience with me. Their willingness to complete several activities and surveys made this research and the findings possible.
vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERARE............1
II. METHODS...........................................12
III. RESULTS...........................................19
IV. DISCUSSION........................................30
V. CONCLUSION........................................39
REFERENCES................................................41
APPENDIX
A. MAP TEMPLATE........................................46
B. INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS............................47
C. INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD DOCUMENTS................59
vii


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
In The First Time Effect, Josh McKeown defines a study abroad experience as:
short term (as short as 1 week) or longer (up to a full academic year), during which students physically leave the United States to engage in college study, cultural interaction, and more in the host country... Studying abroad, and its impact on student development, is a subject with a worthwhile, but limited, body of research (McKeown, 2009).
Students participating in study abroad programs from the United States have visited all seven continents to gain skills in foreign language, field work, humanitarian aid, architecture, geography, and many other disciplines. While research on study abroad programs is growing, there are major gaps in the literature. Particularly little is understood about the educational benefits of short-term programs, which the Association of International Educators (NAFSA, formerly National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) describes as lasting three to six weeks. Short-term study abroad programs are often appealing for students. According to a 1990 National Task Force on Undergraduate Education Abroad, For students who are older, of minority background, employed..., disabled, or have limited funds, study abroad is not perceived to be an option. The more typical study abroad models and structures mostly ignore the needs of such students (p. ix)
While anecdotal evidence of the benefits of study abroad programs is plentiful, more research is necessary to provide evidence of measurable benefits to students taking part in these programs. This study aimed to investigate gains in cultural and spatial knowledge using qualitative and quantitative methods. The purpose of this project is to answer the research questions: (1) How will students perceptions about China change after a three-week course traveling along the Yangtze River from Shanghai to Three Gorges Dam, and (2) how will
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students abilities to map major cities and landmarks change after their short-term study abroad course? These questions were explored through data collection occurring before, during, and after the study abroad program.
Background and Literature Review History of Study Abroad in the United States
The first study abroad program in the United States was established in 1923 at the University of Delaware, by Modem Languages Professor Raymond Kirkbride. Kirkbride gained a complex understanding of French culture and language through his service as a soldier in World War I. Recognizing the potential to provide the same learning opportunities for his students, Kirkbride and University of Delaware president, Walter Hullihen, sought support from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, local philanthropists, and businessmen, including Pierre du Pont of the prominent du Pont family. With the exception of a hiatus from 1948 to 1970 (due to war and post-war circumstances in Europe) the University of Delaware has sponsored students abroad every year for multiple terms since the inception of the program. In 1971, the university also pioneered short-term study programs by offering short winter programs, with the goal of creating global citizens (Kochanek, 1998). In recent decades, the popularity of study abroad programs in the U.S. has grown. A 2005 report from the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program articulated the goal of increasing the number of students studying abroad to one million annually by the 2016-2017 school year. The commission was established by U.S. Congress with the goals of expanding study abroad programs, increasing global competence among students, and meeting national needs. In spite of steady annual growth in study abroad programs, there were around 300,000 students studying abroad from all states in 2013-2014,
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far short of the one million student goal (NAFSA 2015). Traditional study abroad programs with durations of several months or longer may be prohibitive for many students. With the rising popularity of short-term programs and the increased popularity of study abroad programs in general, the one million student goal may still be reached in future years. Previous Study Abroad Research
The benefits to students studying in another country for any length of time are well articulated in academic literature; such benefits include language immersion (Ingram, 2005), engagement in the international community (Schattle, 2009), and an expanded world view (Dolby, 2004). Joseph Hoff (2008) argues that students also gain global competence, intercultural sensitivity, and are more likely to consider or adopt an ethno-relative view of the world. While there are tens of thousands of positive personal accounts from students who have participated in study abroad programs, little research has attempted to systematically evaluate student learning or growth from academic endeavors in countries outside of their home country in short-term programs. Few studies have focused on discipline-specific outcomes; existing work generally highlights changes in students attitudes toward host countries or how they feel about their travel experience. Study abroad is widely characterized as transformative which can be defined as the process of moving toward a frame of reference that is more inclusive of other viewpoints and less egocentric (Mezirow, 1997).
Following multiple years of growth, short-term programs now account for most of the enrollment in study abroad programs in the US. These programs provide access for students who cannot participate in traditional, longer-term programs due to cost, length of time spent away from home, or other obligations. In spite of its popularity and perceived accessibility, campus leaders and study abroad professionals wonder aloud if students are gaining what
3


they should from such programs (1). While there is a strong bias toward the traditional semester-long or year-long programs due to the belief that more is better, any study abroad experience may be better than none (McKeown, 2009). Short-term programs should not be viewed as the poor relation to long-term programs, but may successfully meet program goals (Lewin, 2009).
The potential learning benefits of study abroad are manifold. Study abroad programs increase interdisciplinary understanding and possibilities for course offerings and interdepartmental cooperation and are as varied and numerous as courses offered on typical college campuses (Spencer, 2009). Just as local experiential learning (e.g., visits to museums) can combine lessons in history, social impacts, and international conflict, study abroad can combine experiences so that students can effectively gain knowledge in multiple fields and the connections between them (Spencer, 2009). A 1997 study (Falk) about the long-term impacts of school field trips found that participants could recall specific aspects of their field trip well into adulthood. Nearly all participants in the study remembered something learned during a field trip from their youth that related to the subject matter being taught.
The outcomes of study abroad programs specific to China have not been exhaustively researched; however, a few studies have examined the link between travel study programs in China and an improved grasp of Mandarin. These studies, focused largely on long-term study abroad programs, found that immersion in Chinese culture and courses taught in Mandarin greatly improved students understanding and ability to speak the language, which also allowed for deeper connections to residents near their host school (Du, 2013). One study focused on a two-part course that included a traditional classroom
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component followed by a 16-day program in China that visited three regions. The study used identical surveys after each part of the course to determine that the classroom portion contributed minimally to students understanding of the issues discussed, while the travel portion shifted students understanding of global political issues and altered their self-awareness (Lumkes, Hallett, & Vallade, 2011).
Study Abroad as Transformative Learning
Transformative learning challenges our worldviews and highlights the reasons why we understand and feel about the world the way we do (Mezirow, 1991). Through transformative learning, an adults frames of reference are challenge and converted into more inclusive views. Mezirow describes human preconceptions as structures of assumptions that inform and shape experiences, lenses through which the world is viewed by an individual. Adults tend to reject concepts that do not fit within their assumptions as inferior. Transformative learning, then, challenges individuals to self-reflect and discriminately consider their own views when presented with opposing discourse. In order for learning to become transformative, a disorienting component is required, followed by critical reflection of ones own assumptions (Mezirow, 1997).
Study abroad programs may lend themselves to transformative learning because they place students into disorienting situations and facilitate reflection of those experiences (Stone, 2017). Study abroad courses of any length provide students with opportunities for transformative, emotional, and social learning to occur as they force students into new environments and experiences that can contest held beliefs and worldviews (Ritz, 2011). A small amount of work has sought to explore the link between duration of a study abroad program and its ability to lead to transformative learning. Some researchers have found that
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transformative learning is less likely in shorter programs than longer ones (Dwyer, 2004), while others have found that short-term programs can provide more opportunities than traditional programs due to their intense nature, so long as the program is paired with the guidance of a faculty member who implements intentional curricula and is cognizant of planned course outcomes (Donnelly-Smith, 2009).
In a survey of 3,723 study abroad students, Dwyer assessed academic and personal achievements while comparing the varying lengths of study abroad programs. Respondents had participated in study abroad programs of six weeks, 16 weeks, or 32 weeks. Survey questions were aimed at assessing impact of programs on respondents academic choices, career choices, intercultural development, and personal growth. Dwyers study found that while students in six-week programs achieved benefits of their programs, the greatest gains in all categories were experienced by students who participated in a longer program. Respondents to the survey reported higher instances of lasting impacts on world view, changed political and social views, and a higher tolerance of ambiguity. The differences between respondents of varying study abroad program lengths, however, were small, and with a carefully planned, intensive program, students of short-term programs stand to gain as much as more traditional students (Dwyer, 2004). A study of 6,000 study abroad alumni from the University of Minnesota found no significant difference between short-term program students and long-term program students in global engagement, which was defined as civic commitment and volunteerism internationally and at home (Donnelly-Smith, 2009).
While program length can work against transformative learning from occurringfor example, if a short program is not paired with a well-equipped faculty memberother factors have been identified that may prevent study abroad from transforming students.
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Foronda and Belknap (2012) conducted a study of 34 students who had participated in a study abroad program in a low-income country. The qualitative study focused on students perspectives and whether they were moved to action (a key phase of Mezirows Perspective Transformation Model). The researchers named three factors that may prevent transformative learning during study abroad programs: (1) egocentrism and emotional disconnect, (2) perceived powerlessness, and a (3) vacation mindset.
Egocentrism is the inability or unwillingness to understand other perspectives and is often described as self-centeredness. Egocentrism builds roadblocks to transformation as participants fail to attempt to see other perspectives or seek to understand their classmates or the residents of their host country. Egocentrism separates students from their experience as they view themselves as outside of it, as spectators in an arena. Students can become emotionally disconnected as a means of protecting their world views or themselves from emotional trauma. Foronda and Belknap describe an example of this in their study of nursing students, such as when students referred to patients with animal metaphors (e.g., elderly patients were herded to showers) or took photos of dying patients to show other students at home (Foronda & Belknap, 2012).
Participants may also feel overwhelmed and powerless when faced with new experiences that make them feel ill-equipped to take action and implement change in their views or daily lives. While transformative learning may have occurred for these students, transformed perspectives fail to take place due to a type of fear from the participants (Foronda & Belknap, 2012). While this occurred for many of the nursing students in Foronda and Belknaps study, it may also present itself in study abroad courses when students
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experience poverty stricken areas, locations devastated by natural disaster, or other areas where participants perceive great need they cannot address.
Lastly, a student with a vacation mindset approaches a study abroad program as a superficial experience. Students with this mindset often fail to immerse themselves into the culture of the host country deeply enough to trigger the disorientation needed to achieve transformative learning (Foronda & Belknap, 2012). Students with a vacation mindset seek out restaurants, and shopping opportunities, and other such activities frequented mostly by other travelers, rather than interacting with residents of the host country. These students often express frustration that they dont have more free time to partake in activities outside of the study abroad curriculum.
Study abroad is an excellent instrument for ensuring that transformative learning occurs, and transformative learning is imperative for adults to widen their world views and engage with the international community. Transformative learning can only occur through carefully planned programs, however, that force students into disorienting situations that encourage critical evaluation of previously-held beliefs.
A Place for Cognitive Mapping
There is a lack of data connecting study abroad experiences with gains in spatial knowledge. Improved spatial knowledge through travel can help students better understand their place in the world and their connections to other places. Cognitive mapping, studied extensively in the field of psychology, offers a useful route to exploring this type of learning. Downs and Stea (1973) define the process of cognitive mapping as acquisition of knowledge about an environment through direct engagement with that environment. This knowledge takes shape in the form of identities of landmarks, distances, directions, space between
8


landmarks, time it takes to travel, among others. The dominant framework in cognitive mapping was introduced by Siegel and White in 1975. This framework suggests that spatial knowledge about a place progresses from landmark knowledge to route knowledge, and then ultimately to survey knowledge (Ishikawa and Montello, 2006). Landmark knowledge involves recognizing discrete objects or scenes in the environment. This progresses to route knowledge, which fills in the space between landmarks with information about sequence and direction (whether one would turn left before or after a particular boulder, for example.) Survey knowledge is a more advanced type of spatial knowledge that allows a person to imagine a two dimensional version of their environment and can understand relationships between landmarks at scale, even if the person has never traveled directly between these landmarks. Route knowledge is a more complete understanding of the environment (2012).
A large number of studies have been conducted which incorporate cognitive maps from participants of their neighborhoods, schools, cities, or countries they have visited. This research is beneficial for understanding how people comprehend and navigate their environments. Cognitive maps of a neighborhood may differ between groups of different socio-economic classes or between genders (Mondschein et al, 2013). What is missing, however, is research that demonstrates how visiting a new place changes a persons understanding about cities or geographic connections on a local scale. Will mapping abilities improve when a country or region is considered in its entirety? Cognitive map research has traditionally focused on local scale mapping, such as how accurately a person can map a route to which he or she has been exposed to or routinely travels. One such study questioned twenty-four adults who the researchers drove through a neighborhood in California over the course of ten weekly sessions. After each session, participants were asked to draw the route
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and the results were analyzed for accuracy in direction and distance (Ishikawa and Montello, 2006). This study offers insight on how cognitive mapping can be used to determine improved spatial awareness after exposure to an environment, but does not address study abroad directly. Researchers have failed to provide quantitative data on whether traveling or studying abroad increases the accuracy with which people can locate cities on a map at a smaller scale, such as landmarks in a city.
Space versus Place
Space and place are distinctive concepts in the field of geography. In Yi-Fu Tuans Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (1977), Tuan describes space as an abstract concept. Space is undifferentiated until humans give it meaning through personal experience. Once value has been endowed upon a space, it becomes a place (1977). Place, then, refers to how humans make sense of the world around them. In Place: An Introduction, Tim Cresswell (2015) further illustrates the relationship of space and place by describing colonialists in the late 1700s traveling up the coast of Canada to map the land. Colonialists were interested in naming landmarks and spaces on the coast, while the sea was an empty space to them. They noted that native canoeists seem to meander aimlessly from one point to another, but the sea was full of place to the natives. Their apparently aimless travels were informed by meanings related to places in the sea, places of spirits and dangers, passed down through generations. While the sea was a blank space to the colonialists, the natives had transformed it into place endowed with meaning.
Study abroad programs offer a unique opportunity for students to shape their sense of space and place through experiences in a host country. The experience can transform what may begin as a space on a map with no real meaning, to a place. For many American
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students, China is little more than a concept from history books, movies, and anecdotes from others. How could spending time in China shift perspectives for these students to give them a sense of China as a meaning-laden place?
Research Questions
In his work The Birth of the Clinic, Michel Foucault describes the beginnings of eighteenth century philosophy as the foreign spectator in an unknown country and the man born blind restored to light (Foucault, 1976). This presents a romantic view of the traveler being awakened by experiences in unfamiliar places. While the very act of being in an unfamiliar country may alter a students view of the world or themselves, how does this experience add to specific goals of a college or department? While other studies have claimed that study abroad programs produce transformative learning, it is worth investigating whether those transformations can be translated into measurable outcomes for a students academic degree program goals.
There are visible gaps in research on short-term study abroad programs and cognitive mapping. Research on this topic, using these methods, could serve both to improve study abroad teaching practices and provide support for existing programs. Can methods from cognitive mapping be used as a tool to gauge learning outcomes from short-term study abroad programs? How do short-term study abroad programs improve cognitive mapping abilities of the participants? How can research that combines these concepts inform decisionmakers about the usefulness of short-term study abroad programs?
Study abroad programs are a form of experiential learning, described by David Kolb (1984). Kolb designates four components to the experiential learning cycle: (1) concrete experience, (2) observations and reflections, (3) formation of abstract concepts and
11


generalizations, and (4) active experimentation. This framework may inform the outcomes of a study abroad program of any length. Additionally, the collaboration between professors and the cohort of students participating in a study abroad will inform outcomes. Each participant and instructor brings prior experiences and values as well as perceptions of the host country that may influence their understanding and learning from the experience and the program itself.
Outcomes from study abroad programs are varied and merit investigation. This study focused on how perceptions of China were altered, as well as whether a students ability to map the visited region was improved. Lastly, I discuss and analyze how this study abroad program addresses degree and department program goals.
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CHAPTER II
METHODS
Program and Participants
Sustainability along the Yangtze is a short-term study abroad program offered through University of Colorado Denvers Geography and Environmental Sciences Department during the Universitys Maymester term. Maymester is a short term that falls between the end of the Spring semester and the beginning of the Summer semester in the month of May. Classes meet for fewer weeks, but for longer hours, than in traditional semester-long classes, yielding fast-paced and intense progression through course material. Maymester and its winter equivalent, Winterim, are conducive to short-term study abroad programs. The 2017 China program commenced on May 16, 2017 and concluded on June 1, 2017. The program is one among a growing number of short-term program offerings from the University of Colorado Denver (UCD). In 2009, 455 UCD students participated in short-term study abroad programs; by 2016 that number increased to 910, with Winterim 2017 showing further increased enrollment (Office of International Affairs, 2016).
Participation in this study was limited to students enrolled in Sustainability along the Yangtze. Twelve students enrolled in the course, not including the researcher conducting this study. All twelve agreed to participate in the study and signed waivers at a pre-departure meeting. The group of students consisted of four graduate and seven undergraduate students from UCDs Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences and one undergraduate student from UCDs School of Education. One graduate student and one undergraduate student were males and the other nine students were females.
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The goals of the course, as outlined in the course syllabus, included an integrative approach to eight research topics: (1) cross-cultural views of nature and environmental protection, (2) social and environmental aspects of large-scale water development projects, (3) challenges of urban sustainability, (4) population, migration, and social disparity, (5) agricultural farming landscapes and the environment, (6) environmental education and future prospects for sustainability, (7) colonial heritage representation and historic landscape preservation, and (8) symbolic architecture, national identity, and place-making. Requirements of the course included daily participation, a daily field journal, and a photo or video essay (Page & Wee, 2017).
Table 1: Study Participant Composition
Male Female
Undergraduate 1 3
Graduate 1 7
Geography and Environmental Sciences department 2 9
Education department 0 1
Students began the program in Shanghai, China. The itinerary moved the class group through Shanghai, Nanjing, Jiujang, Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang before returning to Shanghai. A minimum of one night was spent in each of the cities visited, and students were given opportunities to experience each city both with and without a guide (either a professional Chinese tour guide or a professor leading the program). The curriculum included lessons in Chinese history, urban and rural transitions within the Yangtze River Valley, economy, agriculture, population growth, hydropower projects and the Three Gorges Dam, resettlement, and other topics related to the sustainability of China.
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LIAONING
Zhangye
Beijing
SHANXI HEBEI
Dalian
Yantai
Pyor
Xining
China
SHANDONG
3
Zhengzhou Zaoshuang
JIANGSU
CHONGQING
Chongqing
Baoshan Kunming
YUNNAN
Shaoguan GUANGDONG c
Taipei
Taiwan
Figure 1: Map of Sustainability along the Yangtze route. From east to west: Shanghai, Nanjing, Jiujang/Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang
The curriculum in Shanghai and Lushan relied heavily on guidance from the two instructors leading the program. All transportation in Shanghai was through the public subway system or on foot.In contrast, tour guides and private buses were used in Nanjing, Wuhan, and Yichang. Students were given time to explore these cities on their own by foot or other transit.Most evening hours were left open to students to use as they wanted, while scheduled course time took place in the morning through most afternoons.
The program was led by two professors from UCDs Geography and Environmental Sciences department, Drs. Brian Page and Bryan Wee. Both instructors have led Sustainability along the Yangtze in the past and have personal and research interests in China. Dr. Page has expertise in urbanization, historic landscapes, urban geography, colonial landscapes in China, and human geography. Dr. Wee is an experienced educator and researcher in environmental education, human geography, sustainability, and human geography.
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The researcher for this study played multiple roles, both as an observer and a participant in Sustainability along the Yangtze. Participation in the program enabled a thorough understanding of the daily interactions of the student group and movement through each of the programs destination cities. As a participant, the researcher was afforded a students eye view of the program, enabling an insiders analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.
Study Instruments Map Template
Students were given mapping exercises to examine whether participation in the study abroad program changed students ability to accurately map locations in China. A map template was created with ArcGIS software that included East and South-Central China, the Yangtze River, and an inset showing the regions within China (Appendix A). At a predeparture meeting, students were asked to place points on the map for several locations in China, including Shanghai, Nanjing, Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang. The same mapping exercise was administered at a post-program meeting, six weeks after returning to Denver.
Student work on the map templates was scanned and saved as image files which were then georeferenced in ArcMap so that each mapped point could be digitized. GIS files were created for each participant that contained their pre- and post-test points. Mapped points from the pre- and post-test template were also organized into shapefiles by city (e.g., all participants pre-test Nanjing points were merged into a single shapefile, and likewise for post-test points).
The results of the mapping exercise were analyzed with ArcGIS software (ArcGIS 10.3). The points were summarized with mean points and standard deviational ellipses on a
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map of China. These are constructed by calculating separate standard deviations for a set of points from a mean center for the x-coordinates and y-coordinates to define the x- and y-axes for a standard deviational ellipse. A standard deviational ellipse can be analyzed for changes in the area of the polygon, the rotation of the primary axis of the ellipse, and the length of the axes. This type of analysis was performed for each set of cities for the students pre- and post-tests to compare changes in their spatial knowledge of cities visited in China. Points were also analyzed for their displacement from the actual city center locations. This provides a tool for assessing whether students spatial knowledge of China improved and how that knowledge changed.
Likert Survey
Surveys are a useful tool to enable tracking of changes in participants knowledge and perceptions. Participants were given a Likert scale survey to complete both before and after the study abroad program. A Likert survey orders responses to a set of questions to enable some quantitative comparison and analysis. In this case of this study, responses were given on a scale from strongly disagree to strongly agree. Such a survey enables coding with
numeric values to assess responses, facilitating quantitative analyses of changes in participants knowledge and attitudes. The sixteen statements on the survey were designed to address student beliefs, cultural differences, personal freedoms, and overall opinion of the host country.
Table 2: Likert Survey Statements
I feel comfortable visiting China I have a favorable view of Chinese culture
I am familiar with cultural customs in China I understand my connections to China
I am familiar with places we will visit Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United
I can stay connected with friends and family through social States
media in China In China and the US, nature is accessed similarly
I have more freedoms in the United States than residents of It is easy to access phone services in China
China It is easy to access internet services in China
I can access foods Im familiar with in China I understand the roles religion plays in China
There are lots of people in China who speak English There are different types of housing structures in different
I have a favorable view of China places
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Cognitive Maps
While traveling through China, participants were asked to map what they remember about three Chinese cities. The three cities chosen for this exercise were Shanghai, Lushan, and Yichang, selected because their highly contrasting environments. Shanghai, one of the largest cities in the world, was the first city students visited. It is a city of dense housing structures, carefully planned transit, with a population of approximately 25 million. Shanghai has former British and French settlements that were once overseen by their respective foreign governments, a modem financial district, and old neighborhoods slated for demolition to make room for modem high-rise apartment buildings.
The next city examined in this study was Lushan. In contrast to Shanghai, Lushan is a National Park with lush forests, dozens of temples and monasteries, and more open space than Shanghai. The weather is very cool in the summer months, in contrast to the heat and humidity of other cities visited. Lushan offered students more opportunity to interact with nature than other cities.
Finally, Yichang was chosen due to its being the culmination of the trip and the site of the Three Gorges Dam, which was discussed throughout the entirety of the program. In addition to the distinctive traits of each city, the locations chosen for this study were situated at the start (Shanghai), middle (Lushan), and end (Yichang) of the program.
Upon completing their visit, students were instructed to map what they remembered about each city on an 8.5 x 11 piece of plain white paper. The maps were meant to convey a reflection of what students remembered or how they interpreted each place. Cognitive maps enable the researcher to view a place through participants eyes. Participants inevitably draw the things they remember most, which are often the landmarks or locations they felt a
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connection to or spent more time in. The only requirements for these were the names of each participant, but what to map was left open. These were collected as they were completed after each city (Shanghai, Nanjing, and Yichang.)
Maps were scanned and stored digitally. These maps were analyzed for common themes or landmarks between participant maps, and anomalies were noted that set maps apart from the rest of the participants cognitive maps. Prior research lacks a definitive method for categorizing features on cognitive maps. Six categories were developed after an initial review of the maps in order to analyze them further: (1) cultural landmark, (2) natural landmark, (3) water feature, (4) hotel, (5) commerce, and (6) geographic labels. Cultural landmarks included human-made structures. Natural landmarks were noted for drawing of particular mountains, trees, rocks, or other features on the landscape. Bodies of water, including ponds and rivers, were noted in the water feature category. The hotel category was created specifically for a participants inclusion of the host hotel in each city on their cognitive map. Commerce included grocery stores, restaurants, other shops, post offices, and food or souvenir carts. Finally, geographic labels were noted when participants labeled a neighborhood, river, mountain, street, or other named feature with its proper name.
Interviews
Interview questions were designed to elicit responses about participants feelings and perceptions about China, and how these changed throughout the course of the program. Participants were asked about difficulties from participating the program and their overall perceptions of China and the United States. A list of seven questions guided the interview process, and further clarifying questions were asked as needed and determined by each participants responses to the outlined questions. The intent of the interviews was to gain an
19


understanding of the impact of the study abroad program on participants perceptions, as well as to gain insight to results of the other research tools (maps and survey).
Table 3: Interview Questions__________________________________________________________________________________
Tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability Along the Yangtze.
What were you most surprised to learn about China?
Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? What about moments that were easier?
How would you describe the China you experienced to other people? How does this differ from the China you thought you would see?
How have your perceptions of the United States changed? Of Denver/Colorado?
Do you think your ability to map the cities we visited improved after traveling through them? Why/why not?
Can you sum up your experience with this program in two or three sentences?
Additional questions were determined during the interview based on survey questions and mapping results.
In addition to a set of pre-selected interview questions, participants reviewed changes to their pre- and post-test mapping exercises. Participants were shown their cognitive maps and asked to describe the places they mapped and why they mapped them. They were encouraged to discuss the view they chose for their maps (namely, aerial versus oblique), and to explain the points of interest they included on their maps.
Interviews were scheduled with participants in September, 2017, giving students time readjust to being back in Denver. By this time, the maps had been analyzed to aid in the interview process. Among twelve students who participated in the study abroad program, seven agreed to participate in an interview. Participants were asked to choose a place convenient and comfortable for their interview, either on or off campus. Two of the seven interviewees chose to meet off campus at restaurants. One student chose to meet on campus at an outdoor picnic table. The remaining four students chose to meet in the researchers office for their interviews. Responses to interview questions were recorded and later transcribed (Appendix B.)
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CHAPTER III
RESULTS
Mapping Exercise
Examination of the results of the mapping exercise provided objective measures of changes in spatial knowledge. Standard deviational ellipses for each of the cities were smaller in the post-test maps than in the pre-test maps (Figure 2). Distribution of the X coordinates is a measure of the east-west dispersion of the data. The standard distribution of the X coordinates decreased for every city except Shanghai, which increased by only 0.055 (i.e., results where the x coordinate is concerned were similar for Shanghai for both pre- and post-test sets of points). A decrease in this value indicates that the points became more condensed along this axis after participating in the course. The standard distribution along the Y-axis (north-south extent) in three of the five cities (Shanghai, Nanjing, and Wuhan) decreased.
The area of the ellipse is a measure of the overall dispersion of the data; large areas indicate high dispersion among a set of points while smaller ellipses indicate less dispersion. The most dramatic decrease in ellipse size was for the city of Yichang, with a decrease of 38.8 square kilometers. While the most dramatic shift between the two tests ellipses was for Yichang, every ellipse decreased in area in the post-test points. A third ellipse was created for Yichang as a result of an obvious outlier in the pre-test data. One participant mapped Yichang on the map inset rather than on the main map, causing a significant shift in data. While this information is valuable and allows for analysis of that students learning through the course of the program, it skewed the data and gives the impression that spatial understanding of Yichangs location changed drastically for every participant. This was not the case.
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Table 4: Changes in Standard Deviational Ellipses
City Ellipse length Ellipse Area X Center Y Center X Stand. Dist. Y Stand. Dist. Rotation
Shanghai -6.822 -7.508 0.850 0.347 0.055 -2.137 122.740
Nanjing -8.046 -8.765 1.340 1.015 -0.702 -1.747 1.177
Lushan 0.094 -2.365 0.338 0.290 -0.419 0.270 -8.424
Wuhan -1.246 -2.792 0.124 0.272 -0.299 -0.181 -6.760
Yichang -26.795 -38.823 2.201 -0.129 -9.396 2.072 -20.774
Yichang -No outlier -11.643 -57,266.749 14.647 24.442 -68.564 37.685 -8.107
Mapped points from pre- and post-tests were also analyzed for distance from each citys actual center. An average displacement for each citys pre-test points was subtracted from the average displacement for the post-test points to indicate by how much the participant cohorts ability to accurately map the locations changed after participation in the course. Table 5: Changes in Displacement of Mapped Points
City Pre-test Displacement (km) Post-test Displacement (km) Change in Displacement (km)
Shanghai 176.7 91.5 -85.3
Nanjing 185.2 111.9 -73.3
Lushan 179.8 205.5 25.7
Wuhan 298.3 291.1 -7.2
Yichang 581..9 443.5 -138.4
Yichang (outlier removed) 454.2 443.5 -10.7
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Figure 2 Standard deviational ellipses for the cohort are show from points mapped prior to departure and points mapped after then program concluded. The ellipses show an overall improvement in accuracy of mapped points from the participant group.
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Survey
Responses to the Likert survey were coded on a numeric scale from 1 to 5, with 1 corresponding to strongly disagree and 5 corresponding to strongly agree. An independent samples t-test was conducted to examine statistical significance in the score changes. The survey analysis revealed key changes in responses from participating the course. The average response to whether each participant felt comfortable visiting China increased by 1.5 after the conclusion of the program. Other large increases were observed for questions about culture and housing. Notably, the average response value about the belief that many residents of China speak English decreased by one quarter point after the program. Examining these changes can yield insight to how students perceptions of China and themselves were impacted by the program.
An Independent Samples t-test was conducted using IBMs SPSS software with a 95% confidence interval. P-values were recorded for the test for difference for each survey statement. There were statistically significant differences between the pre- and post-test responses on four of the statements, highlighted in Table 5.
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Table 6: Change in Responses on Likert Survey from Pre-test to Post-test
Survey statement Change in Mean p-value
1 feel comfortable visiting China 0.333 .294
1 am familiar with cultural customs in China 1.500 .000
1 am familiar with the places we will visit 1.500 .002
1 can stay connected with friends and family through social media in China 0.500 .232
1 have more freedoms in the United States than residents of China -0.083 .850
1 can access foods I'm familiar with in China 0.083 .858
There are lots of people in China who speak English -0.250 .549
1 have a favorable view of China 0.000 .069
1 have a favorable view of Chinese culture 0.417 .083
1 understand my connections to China 0.333 .399
Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United States 0.250 .475
There is similar access to nature in China and the US -0.250 .552
It is easy to access phone services in China 0.250 .566
It is easy to access internet services in China 0.250 .530
1 understand the roles religion plays in China 1.000 .002
1 am familiar with different types of housing structures 1.083 .009
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive maps were analyzed for themes and anomalies among participants. These were used for qualitative data analysis relating to each participants experience in the host country and were used to guide interview questions. Features and participants hand-drawn maps were organized into six categories: (1) cultural landmarks, (2) natural landmarks, (3) water, (4) hotel, (5) commerce, and (6) geographic labels.
Cultural landmarks constitute any man-made structure or sacred or historic site. Natural landmarks included any other specifically drawn and/or labeled natural landmark such as mountains, cliffs, animals encountered, or vegetation, but excluding water. Lakes, rivers, and reservoirs were noted and included in the water category. The Yangtze River was a key topic in the course, and so it was particularly relevant to note whether water was a common theme throughout participants cognitive maps. Whether participants drew and/or
25


labeled the host hotel was noted for each map. Additionally, any type of feature indicating commerce was noted in the maps. These features included post offices, restaurants, stores, and street vendors. Lastly, a category was created for geographic labels, which could demonstrate an increase in geographic knowledge among participants. Marks were given in this category for proper names of features on the map, such as Pudong or Yangtze River. In Shanghai, most participant maps included cultural landmarks, water, and geographic labels. Most of these geographic labels were the Pudong Financial District (or some variation of the labeling of this, such as The Pudong) and Nanjing Road, which was frequented by students and near the host hotel (Figure 3). Very few students included natural landmarks in their maps. Additionally, few students included the host hotel in their maps of Shanghai.
Figure 3: Examples of cognitive maps of Shanghai.
Each of the twelve participants included cultural landmarks in the form of historic areas, sacred sites, or village areas in their maps of Lushan. Additionally, natural landmarks were in most of the maps. Lushan is a National Park in China, and nature is easily accessed there. Students participated in several outdoor walks within Lushan, which may have had
26


strong influence on their maps. In contrast, only five out of the twelve maps contained water, commerce, or geographic labels.
Figure 4: Examples of cognitive maps of Lushan
All twelve maps for Yichang included cultural landmarks, similar to the maps of the other cities. Cultural landmarks often play a huge role in study abroad program itineraries such as Sustainability along the Yangtze. The program culminated in Yichang, the site of Three Gorges Dam. Three Gorges Dam is the largest dam in the world, and the program intentionally follows the river valley to reach the structure. Perhaps as a result of the emphasis on the dam and the river in Yichang, water was featured in all but one of the cognitive maps. The participant that drew the map that omitted any body of water was asked about this during their interview. S(he) noted that they had a stronger memory of a particular park visited within the city, and so chose to map that instead.
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Figure 5: Examples of cognitive maps of Yichang
Fewer students ventured away from the host hotel in Yichang to explore the neighborhood around it than in other cities, and this is evident in the maps drawn. Only two maps included any type of commerce, and few mapped the location of the hotel or added any geographic labels.
Table 7: Features From Cognitive Maps
Shanghai (Start) Lushan (Middle) Yichang (End)
Cultural landmark 11 12 12
Natural landmark 4 10 6
Water feature 11 5 11
Hotel 4 9 4
Commerce 6 5 2
Geographic labels 9 5 4
Interviews
Interviews of participants enabled further insight into experiences, as well as choices made when drawing cognitive maps. Seven among the twelve participants agreed to participate in an interview. Participants who were not interviewed declined to participate due
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to conflicting schedules or chose not to respond to interview requests for unknown reasons.
Among the seven, all of them remarked that they had an positive experience participating in
the study abroad program overall. One student, the only student not majoring in a program
offered by the Geography and Environmental Sciences department, remarked on how the
program has helped with her goals as an educator:
Id say my overall experience was great. I started off not knowing anyone, not knowing any of the content, not knowing what I was getting into, and I feel like I had this amazing experience. I learned things about geography and sustainability that I never thought I would have, and I made friends and learned about culture.
In addition to the positive experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze, each participant indicated that he or she would attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose, with caveats about the cost and location. One student noted that they would not attend another program in Asia, but would attend one on another continent. Students also cited intensive learning as a reason for wanting to participate in another study abroad program. One student stressed how much she felt she learned that she could not have learned in a classroom setting:
You learn so much more on a trip in the middle of it than you do in a class. I think I could have learned about the same things, like the Nanjing massacre or the White Deer Academy, I could have looked at pictures and read about it in a book. But, I would not have learned as much as I did being in those spaces and feeling the way I did and observing people interacting with the environments. I would not have learned half of what I did being there.
Six of the seven participants noted that their perceptions of China and the United
States had changed because of the study abroad program. Safety was mentioned by several participants in relation to changed perceptions, notably by the female participants. They viewed China as much safer for women than the United States or Denver. Contrasting
29


anecdotes about walking around at night in the United States versus China were given to
support the changed perception that China is safer.
Thats something Ive talked about with so many women in particular, about how being a female in China; it was really comfortable and really safe in general. Not that it was entirely free from worry because I still didnt know the language and I didnt know the spaces, but I wasnt as worried about getting mugged at night if I was walking around with friends. Not that thats a huge worry here, but its still a worry.
Challenges in participating in the program mentioned by participants included a sometimes difficult group dynamic, health issues, and lack of familiar foods. Traveling in a group can be difficult for many people, and travel adds further stressors. Students mentioned not getting along with everyone as one of the most difficult aspects of the trip. Health issues included not being able to cope with the amount of physical activity involved in the program (some days included moderate to rigorous hikes or up to twelve miles of walking.) Additionally, many participants became sick from minor viruses or from pollution-related fatigue. Finally, some students noted that finding familiar foods was difficult and eating food cooked in oil or unfamiliar spices every day was hard to cope with, especially if a student was ill.
I think it was hard being immersed in a completely different environment with a bunch of people you dont really know, I think that was the hardest part about it.
Overall, students came out of the program with a positive experience and an
appreciation for having participated. Full transcripts of interviews are included in the
appendices.
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Intersection of Results
The instalments used in this study were meant to inform one another to yield understanding of how each participant was impacted by Sustainability along the Yangtze. The results of each instrument are for a single participant (Participant #1) and are displayed here to showcase what one full set of data looks like (Figures 6 and 7). Full text of this participants interview can be found in Appendix B.
Figure 6: Participant l's pre-test (top) and post-test (bottom) mapped cities.
Figure 7: Cognitive maps from Participant 1 for (A) Shanghai, (B) Yichang, and (C) Nanjing.
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Table 8: Changes in Survey Responses for Partipant 1
Pre-test Post-test
1 feel comfortable visiting China 4 3
1 am familiar with cultural customs in China 1 3
1 am familiar with the places we will visit 1 4
1 can stay connected with friends and family through social media in China 5 2
1 have more freedoms in the United States than residents of China 3 4
1 can access foods I'm familiar with in China 3 1
There are lots of people in China who speak English 2 2
1 have a favorable view of China 3 4
1 have a favorable view of Chinese culture 4 4
1 understand my connections to China 2 4
Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United States 2 2
There is similar access to nature in China and the US 5 2
It is easy to access phone services in China 3 2
It is easy to access internet services in China 4 1
1 understand the roles religion plays in China 2 4
1 am familiar with different types of housing structures across different places in China 4 4
Responses range from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5)
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CHAPTER IV
DISCUSSION
Short-term study abroad programs have the potential to create transformative learning experiences for students to encourage changes in perception and opportunities for improved spatial understanding of the host country. In addition to learning more about the country, study abroad programs can expand a students world view (Dolby, 2004). Whether a program succeeds in giving students the benefits discussed in the literature depends on many factors, including group dynamics, course goals and learning objectives, implementation of lessons, and whether students exhibit road blocks to transformative learning as identified by Foronda and Belknap (2012).
The purpose of this study was to analyze gains in geographic or cultural understanding among participants using several tools. The map templates, cognitive maps, surveys, and interviews provided both quantitative and qualitative evidence of what may or may not have been gained from a short-term study abroad program, specifically Sustainability along the Yangtze at University of Colorado Denver. A goal of this project was to derive steps for improving and assessing short-term study abroad program.
Interpretation of Results Mapping Template
The mapping template provided the most robust set of quantitative data in this study. Students identified the locations of cities across smaller total area in the post-test maps, indicated by the standard deviational ellipses of the points. Smaller areas indicate that there was less spatial dispersion and that the mapped points were closer to one another; i.e., the points were less spread out, though that does not suggest that the participant points were more accurate compared to the actual location of the city being mapped. Smaller ellipses
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suggest that the group data for each city became more condensed or consistent, and perhaps that students began to recognize the Yangtze River, for example, or other features on the map as landmarks to guide their mapping. Participants may have become familiar with the provinces traveled through as well, using those as a guide to mapping their points.
The change in ellipses suggests that Sustainability along the Yangtze had an impact on students abilities to map the cities traveled through. The location with the least amount of change between pre-test maps and post-test maps was Lushan. This may be because Lushan is not an actual city, but a National Park containing several towns and cultural sites. It was set back from the Yangtze River, unlike other cities visited that are situated on the banks of the Yangtze River. This may have contributed to confusion on where to map the location in both the pre- and post-tests. Still, the deviational ellipse for Lushan showed decreased dispersion along with all other mapped locations. The test for standard deviational ellipses is a strong tool to analyze improvement, and it suggests that the participant group has an improved spatial understanding of the Yangtze River valley even with the absence of maps used through much of the program.
An analysis of displacement aided in understanding how participants spatial knowledge changed after traveling through China. There was a decrease in displacement between the mapped points and the actual city center location with every city, except Lushan. As noted above, Lushan seemed to be difficult for participants to map due to its large size and its distance from the Yangtze River. The greatest decrease in displacement was shown in mapped points for Shanghai and Nanjing (approximately 85km and 73km respectively.)
These cities sit near the Yangtze River and participants may have found it easier to map cities where the coastline could aid in orienting them.
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Likert survey
Participants reported gaining meaningful changes in their perceptions of China based on results of the Likert survey analysis. Participants indicated an average increase in familiarity with the cities visited, the roles religion plays in China, cultural customs in China, and types of housing structures in China by at least one full point. The average response for whether participants had a favorable view of China increased by 0.42, from 4.25 to 4.67.
One participant noted in the survey that they feel less informed about China after visiting the country due to having experienced the complexity of the history and culture. This can be regarded as an extremely positive gain for students knowledge of a host country, perhaps reflective of the classic idea that the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Travel to new places may shed light on how little a student knows about the host country. Rather than viewing the country in simplistic terms constructed from the students limited knowledge and worldviews, a goal is to help the students grow to understand that they cant possibly fully comprehend the complexities of the host country without significantly more work and experience with it. In that regard, the students sense of space and place with regard to China shifted.
Cognitive Maps
Cognitive maps are formed by participants through direct action with an environment, which vary between individuals (Downs and Stea, 1973), and may provide an insightful method for exploring changes in student perspectives after a study abroad experience. Participants cognitive maps offer clues to the sense of place in each of the three cities used for the activity. Participants formed their own perceptions of each of the three locations mapped, and these perceptions can be discerned through study of their drawings.
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As a megacity and the first place students visited in China, including a map of Shanghai was an important way to get a glimpse of participants first impressions of China. Aside from one small scale map of solely the land mass and river near the Shanghai Province of China, every participants map featured buildings and roads. Many featured specific stores or restaurants and labels for street names, neighborhoods, and districts. Students perceptions of Shanghai are generally anthropocentric, with little inclusion of trees or other natural elements, aside from the Yangtze or Huangpu Rivers. This is not to say that students did not interact with parksparks and quiet spaces are plentiful in Shanghai, and students visited several of these parks during their stay in Shanghai, as well as the banks of the Yangtze River. These places are not associated with Shanghai according to student drawings, however.
Perceptions of Lushan are justifiably vastly different than Shanghai. Lushan, situated on a mountain, is cooler than Shanghai and other large Chinese cities in the summer months and is densely vegetated in most areas. While students frequently visited the shops and restaurants in Guling, only five maps included any mention of these stores. All of the maps featured cultural landmarks such as White Deer Cave Academy and Maos villa. The maps also featured many natural landmarks, such as cliffs, hiking trails, mountains, and specific trees. Students seem to view Lushan as a place where nature is much more easily accessed than in Shanghai.
While maps of Lushan and Shanghai had similar themes, there was great variety in how participants depicted them. This is not the case for maps of Yichang, where eleven of the twelve maps featured Three Gorges Dam. In addition to the maps primarily featuring the dam, many of the maps were drawn from an oblique view rather than aerial perspective,
36


differing from participants previous maps. For most participants, Three Gorges Dam is a central part of Yichang and the most impactful feature from visiting the area. When asked why they chose an oblique angle for their maps of Yichang, students were largely unable to articulate an answer. One participant noted that he did not feel he could add detail at a level he wanted to without drawing and oblique view of the dam.
Participants cognitive maps suggest that place-making having took place during the short-term program, which included only days-long visits to each city. These maps suggest that connections can be formed and perceptions about host cities changed over this short period of time. Most of the students enrolled in Sustainability along the Yangtze had only abstract ideas about what each city in the syllabus represented and how it was connected to the rest of China and Chinese people. Once value is assigned to a geographic location through experience, it becomes a place (Tuan, 1977). Each of the cities was transformed from space to place in some way for participants of the program.
Implications for Study Abroad Programs
The results of this research may provide instructors with insight to ways to improve curricula for future study abroad programs. During interviews, many students indicated that they felt geographically disoriented, exacerbated by the instructors lack of use of maps. While phones with GPS-enabled maps are now commonplace, most students enrolled in the program turned their phones off for part or all of the program, due to the high expense of using their mobile device in another country. For this reason, according to one student, the map feature on their phone was useless for navigating through each city. If geographic programs aim to increase students understandings of space, it is important that such spatial elements are incorporated to foster this knowledge.
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In interviews and surveys, participants described China as complex, but their cognitive maps did not reflect such complexity. Instead, the maps for each city have common themes that seem to fit each location into a box that separates it from the other locations. This may indicate that while the course succeeded in opening participants views to a China more diverse than their prior experiences led them to believe, it failed to deliver a diverse set of experiences within each city. The extent to which this was a detriment to the experience was not the focus of this research and cannot be discerned from the data collected. If study abroad instructors aim to highlight the complexities of host countries and cities within them in a way that is impactful to students, care should be taken to spend equal time on different endeavors. If instructors wish to impress the complexity of a location upon students in a lasting way, curricula must be designed to highlight and emphasize that complexity.
A persistent practical question in this research was whether the amount of free time given to students was an asset or a detriment to learning. Through the researchers personal observations, programs with instructors that provide students ample free time to explore the host country on their own or in small groups may actually prevent connection with those environments as students may seek out the familiar, stay in their hotel where it feels safer, or devolve into a vacation mindset. Not allowing enough free time, one the other hand, may push students to feel burned out, producing a disconnection from the lectures and course material. For short-term study abroad programs, it is important that students are able to gain as much from experience as possible in a limited time period. Instructors should take care to meet with cohorts prior to departure for the host country to discuss expectations. They should also seek to build a curriculum that incorporates a balance of instruction time with a safe way to become familiar with the destination, followed by a limited amount of free time
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that will allow place-making to occur on a more meaningful level, according to each participants interests. It is very important, however, that instructors are honest and transparent about the amount of free time provided to students to avoid disappointment and a tourist mindset.
Instructors should also take into consideration the prior experiences of students enrolling in their short-term study abroad programs. Students who have never left their home country experience new places very differently from students who have experience traveling abroad. Interviews are often conducted to select students for study abroad programs, and care should be taken to note the travel history of participants. Students with little travel experience may need supplemental materials to aid them in preparing for the likelihood of culture shock, homesickness, and the rigor of travel itself.
Limitations
As with any study, there were research challenges and limits to the meaning that can be derived from it. Short-term study abroad programs often maintain low enrollment numbers to accommodate frequent movement within the host country, and the group studied included only twelve participants. A larger participant group may have been more effective at providing robust data for analysis. Richer and more robust data could be collected through study of several groups of students enrolled in multiple, concurrent study abroad courses. Study of consecutive groups of students participating in the same program over the course of several semesters or years would also provide a greater amount of data to analyze, although individual and cohort differences would have to be taken into consideration.
In addition to the small cohort studied, the lack of a control group limits the ability of the study to measure the growth or transformative learning that took place during the
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program. Students in a traditional classroom in a course on China for a standard semester may show similar educational gains as students who study abroad. Students in traditional classrooms, however, are not likely to exhibit growth in understanding that requires experience in China, such as whether it would be easy to find people that speak English. Comparing traditional students to study abroad students would provide valuable insight to the specific ways in which travel study programs impact learning compared to traditional classroom-based courses covering similar material.
Study abroad programs provide unique challenges to research. Participants are placed in stressful situations for many reasons. One group of students may experience educational gains that outpace others in the same program due to the cohesiveness of the group, individual personalities, willingness to embrace travel stress, and whether a student has any of the transformative learning inhibitors (e.g., powerlessness, emotional disconnect, or vacation mindset) that can alter the results of a study of student outcomes. As with any research that relies on human subjects, the unpredictability and variability of human interactions and experiences complicates study.
A further complication to this research was my position both as researcher-observer and a student enrolled in the course. Neither of these lenses could be removed completely, and so participation in the study abroad program was clouded by being an observer of the students and vice versa. This dual role may or may not have altered the ways participants in the research answered interview questions and/or drew cognitive maps. The ways students answered survey and interview questions may have been influenced by a familiarity with the researcher or viewing the researcher as a peer.
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Future research
While this research adds to the body of knowledge about the impacts of short-term study abroad programs on spatial and cultural perceptions among students, it also raises questions and suggestions for future research. This work can prompt instructors to be cognizant of the use of maps to aid students in spatial orientation within their host country. Whether students spatial understanding of China would improve more with the use of maps throughout the course may be worth examining. Sustainability along the Yangtze was heavily focused on social structures and historical context through in-situ lectures. Would incorporating lectures and experiences that highlighted cultural practices lead to greater changes in student familiarity and comfort with China? For example, tai chi was a prevalent component in the landscape, with adults practicing in open parks in every city all times of the day. The historic and religious contexts of these practices were not mentioned. For the leading instructors, it is likely these sights have become mundane or unsurprising, causing the instructors to overlook describing the background for students. A similar study with a future cohort of Sustainability along the Yangtze, taking these items into account, would yield important information on how effective course structure is to overall student learning in these short-term programs.
Short-term study abroad programs suffer from lack of quantitative research. For the field of geography, it is imperative that further efforts to focus research on spatial and cultural gains take place. This could improve our understanding of place making, spatial reasoning, and how short-term programs improve these or can become a detriment to them.
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CHAPTER V
CONCLUSION
Short-term study abroad programs continue to rise in popularity due to their affordability and easier-to-manage time commitments compared to longer counterparts. Programs lasting only a few weeks give more students the chance to immerse themselves in a country unlike their own through an intensive learning experience meant to impact and transform. In the context of a geography department, how can gains be measured to ensure gains are taking place in ways that justify the continued offering of these short-term programs?
Students understanding of space and place can be discerned through the use of a breadth of instruments, from which conclusions about the overall impact of a program can be drawn. This study used a combination of mapping exercises, cognitive maps, surveys, and interviews to assess students experiences with Sustainability along the Yangtze. While the instruments are analyzed individually, they serve to complement one another to provide a clearer understanding of the impacts of the program.
Sustainability along the Yangtze impacted students in numerous ways. Despite the lack of maps used for the duration of the program, students mapped points for each city were less dispersed after traveling through China. Demonstrable spatial knowledge was gained through the travel experience itself, even though most students indicated that they did not believe their spatial knowledge had improved. Perceptions of China changed, as shown through surveys and interviews. Participants stated that their pre-conceived ideas about China, constructed from their exposure to media and college courses, were very different
42


from what they learned it to be like. Surveys showed an overall improved knowledge about China and positive feelings toward China.
Programs lasting only a few weeks can impact students understanding of space and place in meaningful ways. Students perceptions and familiarity with the host country can be improved through direct engagement with the people and places they visit. This direct engagement can improve spatial understanding of the host country, and aid in place-making for students in each city. Students cognitive maps in this research showed unique associations with each city that would have been hard to achieve through traditional classroom-based courses.
While short-term programs may not always provide students with a transformative learning experience, instructors can design their courses and prepare students in ways to encourage such transformation. Awareness of student backgrounds and clear course goals may enable instructors to create courses that are as impactful as possible, and the tools used in this research can aid instructors in assessing what, if any, gains were achieved.
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REFERENCES
Cresswell, T. (2015). Place: An Introduction. Second Edition. West Sussex, UK. John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Dolby, N. (2004). Encountering an American self: Study abroad and national identity. Comparative Education Review, 48(2), 150-173.
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Name;
Please place a point and label for the following cities: Shanghai. Nanjing, Wuhan, Lushan. and Yichang. You may map any other cities or features you wish.
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APPENDIX A


APPENDIX B
Interviews of Participants
Interview of Participant #1
Researcher: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
Participant 1: Overall I think it was a good experience. I learned a lot of things. It was different being in a Chinese environment. I think I learned a lot being able to see things in person and connecting that to things I learned in class.
R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?
PI: I think I was surprised about how similar it is to here. I think the media portrays China in a negative way, so to go there and -1 mean in all aspects, the people, cities, consumerism even -1 think it was very similar to here. It was interesting to see that side of it.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
PI: Pertaining to the program itself and the work and the things we were learning, I dont think so. I think everything was pretty smooth sailing. I think it was hard being immersed in a completely different environment with a bunch of people you dont really know, I think that was the hardest part about it. Otherwise, in terms of the class itself it was pretty alright.
R: What about moments or aspects that were easier?
P1:1 think for me it was easiest to have kind of an open mind about things, just because I was aware that we were in a completely different place. I think that was one of the easiest parts.
R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
PI: I think I would describe it in more of a positive way. Again, a lot of people only hear about what the news tells them or the media, so I think its very different and I would describe a place very much like our own home.
R: Does that differ from the China you thought you would see before going?
PI: Yes.
R: How have your perceptions of the United States changed? Have they changed?
PI: I dont think theyve changed. I think Im more grateful for my home just because there are lots of similarities, but there are a lot of differences in stark cultural ways. No, like, view has changed about it, but Im thankful to have been able to have been bom here.
R: Have your perceptions of just Denver changed at all?
PI: It seems smaller to me, definitely. Yeah, it seems smaller and more cozy and personable.
R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them?
P1: Yes and no. I think I have more of a mental picture of it better than not knowing having traveled there, but in general no. I dont think its that great still.
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R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?
PI: Yeah, I think so. It was an overall a good experience so I would do something like that again.
R: What would drive you to attend another?
PI: I think it would definitely have to be -1 think location is important, of course, but also what it is pertaining to. Kind of what we would be studying or looking at, it would have to be of real interest to me to want to go.
R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program?
PI: Overall it was a good experience. I was able to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone and it was a lot of fun.
Interview of Participant #2
Researcher: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
Participant 2: Overall it was a really good experience. I feel like I learned a lot about China as a country, and then also as a culture. I learned Mandarin a little bit. I learned a lot more about the cities we visited because I had never been there before, I didnt even know where they were, and half of them I had never even heard of before the program, so I learned a lot.
R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?
P2:1 kind of had a sense that they wanted to present themselves in the most positive light before, but I didnt have a real sense of what that meant in terms of how they would go about showing us things, and how they would talk about things, about their own country. So that kind of surprised me a little bit.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P2:1 mean, kind of from a personal standpoint, I was sick for a good chunk of the trip so it was physically demanding in the sense that we did a lot of walking every day. So, that was more of a personal thing, that that was the most difficult part of the trip for me, was navigating the first week and a half while I was really sick.
R: Was there anything culturally that was difficult?
P2: It took some getting use to in a sense that the food and things like that were so different than what I was used to. So, there were definitely some cultural aspects that were different. I had a hard time finding things that were easy to eat in terms of things I could eat, and things I enjoyed. And getting use to the overcrowding and population was difficult.
R: What about moments or aspects that were easier?
P2: Just the fact that we were taken around and able to see so many things in such a short period of time. So, actually getting around in China and getting to see so much of the country, I felt like that went pretty easy. We didnt really have a lot of transport difficulties and we were able to see so much in such a short period of time.
R: Having gone on this trip now, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
P2:1 would tell them it was great, and they should go and see it for themselves because its really kind of a thing you would have to experience for yourself as an American I feel like. Its difficult to describe in a few words to other people. Like, when they ask me about it I usually say, Oh, it was great! and then I want to go
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on but I feel like I dont want to take an hour of their time to explain why it was such a great experience. I would definitely tell other people that they need to experience it for themselves, but that they would have a very positive experience and that it would change their outlook on China I feel like in the US our media really does not paint China in the best light and we see this country that is super polluted and has problems with poverty and constantly, like, I guess is not democratic enough by American standards. So, I feel like if people were to actually go and see what China is like for people, they would have a different view.
R: Is your view on China, or how you would describe China to other people, different from what you thought you would experience?
P2: Yes, in a very positive way. I thought, I knew the media kind of was hyperbolic in that sense, but I did think that it was going to be so dirty and so crowded and so -1 don know. I thought there would be more difficulties than there were in terms of the environment and things like that, but the people were much friendlier than I expected and that was a pleasant surprise.
R: Has it changed your views or perceptions of the United States?
P2: A little bit, yeah. Mostly kind of in the aspect of, like, personal safety. I felt like China was much much safer than the US in terms of being able to go out and walk around. Even not knowing the language I felt a lot safer walking around there than I would downtown in Denver at night by myself. Even in Chinas biggest cities theres this sense of personal safety that we dont have, and that is something that the US media doesnt talk about, and the fact that we live in such a violent society and that we have to walk around and take precautions, especially as women, we have to take precautions and we have to always be wary about things. Whereas in China, I felt safe and I didnt feel like as long as I wasnt doing something excessively ignorant or drawing a lot of attention to myself or disturbing other people -1 felt like I could walk around safely at night by myself.
R: Switching gears, do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them?
P2: Yes, I think it did because when I first sat down and did the activity I had no idea where anything was at all.
I think it improved. I dont think I could exactly point them out, but I think I could point out in general where they were. I know those cities in a sense that Ive experienced them, and that Ive been on the ground in them. I think I have a better sense where they are geographically for sure.
R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?
P2: Yes, I would. I dont think Ill have the opportunity, but I would do it again because it was a really good experience and I learned so much more beyond just academic content and I feel like those experiences are valuable. The only reason I wouldnt is because of how expensive it is. It is extremely expensive to do a study abroad program.
R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program?
P2: Well, overall it was a really good experience. The instructors were absolutely fantastic and I just wanted them to talk to me all day every day because they were both so knowledgeable, and they both brought different pieces of insight into what we were seeing and experiencing. I learned a lot and I overcame a lot of cultural hang ups. I was worried people would be less friendly than they actually were, my experience with the Chinese people was all very positive overall. People are very kind, they like Americans. We got to see things that a lot of tourists dont get to see, and thats one of the more valuable aspects of it
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Interview of Partipant #4
Researcher: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
Participant #4: It was a pretty nice experience because I got to experience a completely different culture, and -but, um, I also got to see how other people react when theyre in an environment that theyre not comfortable in.
R: During your experience, what were you most surprised to learn about China?
P4:1 was surprised to learn how one with nature they are, because of how polluted they are. You wouldnt expect them to be so, um, clean when it comes to, like, making the grass look pretty or watering different places. I thought that was an eye opener.
R: In your experience, were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P4:1 guess the fact that people were being so strange when it comes to them not being able to adapt to the environment we were in.
R: The other participants?
P4: Yeah, I felt like it made that difficult, because its like, Im trying to stay as calm as possible and take this all in, but everybody else like their actions and everything it made it feel like were not all on the same page. So, its like we cant all figure out our problems as one because everybody is so scattered.
R: What about things that were easier than others?
P4:1 guess the fact that China was so safe, like if people werent being too grumpy or something it was so easy to just go out and explore on your own. I thought that was pretty fun, because its like, no one is going to try to kidnap you or anything so I can just go and enjoy the scenery and the people.
R: did you feel like China was safer in that regard than here? Or other places youve been?
P4:1 think so.
R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
P4:1 would say that some of the things that were told about China are kind of true, but you still have to go out and explore China because it has so many other things to offer than what we see on TV and what were told about the people and the culture, and those different things.
R: If somebody said [name redacted], what is China like, what would you say?
P4:1 would say that its a very natme-oriented place, and its a very people-oriented place because of how many people there are, but also the fact that they seem to be very kind people as well. I guess, just because how the government is and everything, they have that natme and welcoming yeah..
R: How did that differ from what you thought you would experience?
P4:1 dont know, honestly, because before going there I thought it was going to be a very dirty place. After going there I realized that they just have certain issues that they have to fix, but its a pretty nice place to live.
R: After going to China, have your perceptions about the United States changed?
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P4:1 think so, because when I think about how our gym is being built over here, I feel like if we had Chinese construction workers that would have been done in, like, a week or two! So I feel like here in the US were not very goal-oriented in a sense, because over in China they have so much infrastructure thats been built in such a short amount of time, and here we have so many things that take so long to be done. So, I feel like China is more goal-oriented in what they want to do and that makes them have things that they want done go in a fast pace. Like, environmental-wise, I feel like if they change their mindset their air could be cleaner in maybe a year or two. And us, we could be just on the same track forever.
R: Do you think that your ability to map the cities visited improved after traveling through them?
P4: No, because I wasnt really paying attention to the map as much because Im not really good at being oriented with where I am, so I was more focused on sightseeing where I am. I feel like if I was more oriented on where I am I would focus more on the maps and where I am.
R: Do you think if the instructors that led the programs incorporated maps into the actual syllabus or the curriculum, that you would have a better understanding of where these places are located on a map? Do you think that would matter?
P4: Um, I think so because if we got a map of, sa y, when we were in Shanghai or Lushan and they said, Look at this map. Were going to be going here and here, and they marked it out, then it would make me want to look at it more and daily while we were there, and it would make me say, Okay, I remember being here because I saw this. Or I could remember this because its over here, or something like that.
R: Do you think you would attend another study abroad if you had the opportunity?
P4:1 think so.
R: Why?
P4: Well, because its so relaxing in a sense, that youre in a completely different environment. I mean, it has its stressors as well, but its also freeing to know you get to explore this new place and youre not some regular tourist. You actually have people with you that you can trust. So I feel like going on an experience like that with people you know makes it a lot more worthwhile.
R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this particular program?
P4:1 guess this experience was very eye opening. I got to see how different governments and people think, how they see the world, and how their views are so I could come back here to the US and see what issues we have and see that were not always perfect here, but there are other countries that have values that we can implement so we can possibly better ourselves. We could take something from them and implement it here so we could better ourselves.
Interview of Participant #5
R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
P5:1 had a really great time. I learned a lot. I experienced a totally new culture and, like, a huge culture shock I guess. Their way of life is completely different from ours, and their infrastructure is completely different and thats what I focused on. I tend to think of things in terms of urban stuff, so thats what I saw a lot of.
R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?
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P12:1 honestly want to say how happy and almost normal everyones life is, that the government being in control of everything isnt some huge, like, overarching things thats controlling their lives. They do have a lot of freedom of choice in a lot of ways, and just how different everything is. Even down to the food, its like nothing I ever experienced. I think the feel of the cities was a big one. Theyre so massive, but theyre so walkable, and thats such a massive difference from anything Ive ever felt in the United States.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P12: Yeah, like getting sick. And, like, we didnt always get along and that was kind of a bummer. It was super hot and I hated that. I was sweaty the whole time I was there. And some of the hotel rooms not being up to our standards was hard to deal with sometimes. Oh, and the food. I usually found I dish I like, but a lot of it was a little weird for me and I was sick of it by the end.
R: What about moments or aspects that were easier than others?
P12:1 dont know. The public transit was a lot easier than I thought it would be. The way we moved around, I was really comfortable with it the whole time so I like that a lot.
R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
P12: Big. Very populated. Friendly, very friendly. Just, I dont know, so much different. I would try to convey how different it is but also I would probably try to downplay a lot of the stereotypes I would assume they would have based on them being American.
R: How does that differ from the China you thought you would see?
P12: Everyone is very happy and just going about their daily lives in this way that, like, theyre not afraid or worried about things. I think that was a big striking thing for me.
R: Did you imagine that you would see people a little more discontent?
P12: Yeah, I think so. I thought it would be a little more drab, like everyone just going about their days but theyre not vibrant and stuff. I guess I thought theyd all be dressed the same, but theyre all fashionable and that was interesting to me.
R: Have your perceptions of the United States changed?
P12:1 dont think they have. Ive always had kind of a negative view of the United States in terms of recognizing the bad things weve done.
R: Have your perceptions about Denver or Colorado changed?
P12: Yeah, I thought the Lightrail here was this incredible and super great thing. Then I get back here and its rough and its slow and its tiny, theres nowhere to sit. That definitely shifted.
R: Do you think your ability to map the cities that we visited improved after traveling through them?
P12: Maybe shanghai, but thats probably the only one. Its hard, ft takes me a long time to really get a feel for a city in terms of that.
R: Do you think we should have had, within the curriculum or the program itself, more physical maps for students to look at? Do you think that would help?
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P12: Yeah, I think it would./ For me, I just think its really interesting. I really like maps, so Im biased, but I think that would have been great.
R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? Why or why not?
P12: Yes, to broaden my horizons and experience other cultures and to learn. I love to learn things.
R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program?
P12: It changed the way I think about the world. It gave me so many new ideas and experiences for how things can function better. It made everything a lot more gray instead of black and white.
Interview of Participant #7
R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
P7:1 got deeper understanding about our own culture and from your perspective and it give me different opinions about how you view modem China. I feel more proud of my country.
R: During the program, what were you most surprised to learn, that maybe you didnt know before or that you re-learned?
P7: Starting from Lushan and the Three Gorges Dam, that area, Ive never been to that part before. And also Nanjing, the Purple Mountain, it contains many cultural relics. We learned about them in history books, but I feel they are very far away from me at the time I learned them. I didnt know they still exist. That impact me so much when I see them and I realize they are important.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P7: Maybe just the discussion part.
R: The discussions?
P7: Yeah.
R: Was that because it was a different perspective?
P7: No, I am okay with listening, but its a little hard for me to express opinion. First it is about language. Second its my own character. Im a little bit afraid of public speaking and I lost my logic when there are people around.
R: Was there anything that felt easy for you?
P7: Travel around, those transportation thing, because I lived there before and I so got use to it. The weather, new places, I just know how to deal with it.
R: I know that you are from China. Now that youve taken this program, even though youre from China, how would you describe China?
P7: China, its generally a modem country now. They have many advanced devices and their economy is not so bad, but its uneven. Some parts of them is very developed like Shanghai. Some is in the middle level like Wuhan. But Jiujang and some small cities, some people still live in poverty and the living condition doesnt improve. Even in Shanghai, there are some part of city some people still live in undeveloped conditions, but
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they enjoy their life there. Now they invented many convenient methods for living, like the payment method -they use WeChat for everything, even the street food and those bikes they have everywhere. They have their own Uber, but its not called Uber, its called DDM and its very convenient. People dont care too much about politics or something, they just live their life there. Their education level improved, but there still illiteracy in the undeveloped cities, When we visit the village in Wuhan I noticed the internet is already to those village areas, which is not usual like five years ago. Now it reaches those areas, I think it is progress. They are making progress, but there are still improvements.
R: The way you just described China, has that changed from before you went on this program? Did your idea of what China is like change because of this program, or do you feel the same?
P7: Changed. I didnt notice our government has been put many efforts in those remote areas. Like, they assigned some new apartments to those farmers, I didnt notice. And I didnt know they covered many insurance, I didnt know. I just thought many people doesnt have insurance, like people that live in village, but actually they have it. And I didnt notice people actually doesnt care about many politic things and they just live their life. We talked about so much politics during the trip with other classmates, but we never talk about that in China actually.
R: Did the trip change your perceptions of the United States, or Denver?
P7: Not much.
R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved or not?
P7:1 dont know because I didnt do this activity before, so thats my first try. I dont know if it improved or not. I could say after you said we would make a map during the trip after the first city, maybe I would pay more attention to remember how the city organized.
R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?
R7: Yes, its fun with a group of people. Its relaxing, its not like formal classes and experiencing new things, and know the cultures. Especially if its another country. I will be a little worried, because maybe there would be a little danger, but it also excite me and I think it would be very interesting.
R: Do you think its safer to go with a group like this?
P7: Yes, yeah.
Interview of Participant #9
R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze?
P9: Id say my overall experience wasx great. I started off not knowing anyone, not knowing any of the content, not knowing what I was getting into, and I feel like I had this amazing experience. I learned things about geography and sustainability that I never thought I would have, and I made friends and learned about culture. Thats helped me in my teaching and my understanding of how to help students who are from China kind of see the differences between their culture and our culture, and help teach students learn about the richness of their culture, too.
R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?
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P9:1 think one of the things I was most surprised to learn was just the scale and density of the pollution. I knew it was a problem, but I dont think I realized how bad it was: in the air, in the water, at the farms, all the trash that was all over the ground. Even the seed bottles at the farm, I didnt realize it was that bad. I know that we have it here, but we dont see it as often so that was just one of the things that I was just surprised about, and then learning how the pollution impacts the people and the agriculture and just everything there.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P9: Some of the geography concepts were hard, or trying to understand what was being talked about like with GIS, until Daniella explained it to me. At the college e I was really confused about some of the things that were being talked about. And even just in the Maos villa, like going through and seeing the different maps, that was something that was really hard for me, just keeping up with you guys on the geography concepts. But, I got there! I ask a lot of questions and I got there!
R: What about moments or aspects that were easier?
P9:1 guess just like, I would say learning about and just immersing myself in the culture of it, and learning about the different religious aspects of the culture and what its like to live in a place with 20 million people or 12 million people. Just learning about daily lives and culture of them was the easiest part to learn about while I was there.
R: Having gone on this trip now, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
I think its hard to explain, but I think if I was going to explain I would say its a place thats completely different than what we expect. I think when people think of China they think of the people in weird cone hats in rice fields, and thats not what it is. ft has major cities, which are every major city in the United States combine into one. And it has these huge populations to that extreme of people planting rice and people living off the land, and people living in mountain towns. Its so much more than we expect and everything is just amazing. I would just say not to base anything you know about Chinese culture on what youve learned here because its not anything like it. The foods different, the people are different, the culture is different.
R: Have your perceptions of the United States changed?
P9:1 would say yes. Perceptions on, like, I guess pollution. You here people from L.A. talk about how polluted things are, and just the realization of things here that we complain about being bad can be a whole lot worse, and they are worse in other parts of the world, ft just makes me grateful. I know one of the things we talked about was air quality, Im really grateful for the air quality we have here and that were not coughing all the time because were not breathing in so many things. Its also kind of made me look at how China had all that public transportation and how I wish that could be implemented here and how that would make life easier for us here. We have this whole philosophy that America is the best place ever and its not. Theres so many things that we could learn from other places and I think it just opened that this is not the only thing and I dont think thats something I would have had if I hadnt actually traveled, because this is the furthest place Ive ever been.
R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them?
P9:1 think it did. I think the first map I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and that came from the fact that I had no background in it. As I got to experience the places and see where they were and hone in on that ability to observe and remember to be able to put on paper later, I think I did improve. I hope thats true, because I went from knowing nothing to knowing, what I would say, something!
R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?
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P9: Absolutely. I think its just something that gets you out of your comfort zone, and you learn so much more on a trip in the middle of it than you do in a class. I think I could have learned about the same things, like the Nanjing massacre or the White Deer Academy, I could have looked at pictures and read about it in a book. But,
I would not have learned as much as I did being in those spaces and feeling the way I did and observing people interacting with the environments. I would not have learned half of what I did being there.
R: Can you sum up your experience with this program in two or three sentences?
P9: By putting myself out of my comfort zone, I learned more that is applicable to my career as a teacher than I ever thought I would.
Interview of Participant #12
R: Tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze.
P12:1 think overall it was a really good experience. It was my first time out of the country. It was my first time really traveling without any supervision of people I knew. So it was really just a huge test and challenge I guess of my own independence and knowledge and willingness to jump into stuff. I was so close to chickening out and not going because I knew it was going to be my first time overseas and I was freaking out. 10 was already getting homesick without even leaving, but arriving there it just felt like a force was lifgted off me, and I didnt feel scared anymore. I was, like, this is happening, I dont have the space to be scared and I dont have a need to be, really. So I think it was, like, cathartic. Its not something that I would ever take back.
R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?
P12: Just how, just the space in relation to how large the cities were, how many people were in them, how the space was being used to fit all these people. I feel like thats stuff that Ive read a lot about and heard a lot about from professors and in class and from the news, but its completely different to conceptualize it and realize it in person. Its just an incredibly vast country, and I think that was the most surprising part, feeling like we traveled so many miles and theres still so many more miles to get to the other side of the country.
R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others?
P12: Quite surface level, but just the walking. It was so hard. It was so much. Im not use to that much physical activity and that was really one of the hardest things for me. I think I heard from other students that just the constant movement was difficult, but that was something I just enjoyed was constant moving. I dont know if its because it was adrenaline inducing or something, Im a person that its hard to sit in one place for a long time. Im fidgety and kind of that lifestyle that we were in for three weeks, I think that was really fitting for me.
R: So, constantly moving, do you mean changing cities?
P12: Yeah, changing cities and changing surroundings, like walking through the cities. Like, even sometimes we would walk to a location and sit there and lecture, it was interesting, but I would still get really fidgety. Even though I was getting tired of the walking I wanted to keep moving.
R: Would you say that constant movement was something that was easier for you, or is there another aspect of the program that was easier than others for you?
P12:1 think relative to what I heard from other students, the constant hopping around from city to city and location to location was one of the easier aspects for me. Yeah, I would say that was the easiest aspect for me.
R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people?
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P12:1 feel like since coming back Ive been asked a lot about how it was, and I never know what to say. Its kind of corny, but I feel speechless just because there was so many experiences and so many things I learned and so many things we saw that its just kind of hard to synthesize it into just a couple sentences. I always say, It was amazing, or It was great, and that just never feels like its doing justice. I feel like thats just what people want to hear. I would say its not what a lot of people I know would expect, because we get fed so much bias in the media that everyone has their preconceived notions about what this place is gonna be and what this place is gonna be, and some people wont go to places because of what they read and see and hear. Not that I didnt have those biases, but I feel like they werent as strong and I was able to put them aside. I feel like I was just able to experience it as it was and I feel like I can come back and try to paint this picture of what it was like for me, and just how dynamic and diverse and beautiful of an experience it was for me. I feel like its not what people are expecting to hear.
R: Have your perceptions of the United States changed?
P12: Yeah. The safety thing sucks coming back, and thats something Ive talked about with so many women in particular,, about how being a female in China it was really comfortable and really safe in general. Not that it was entirely free from worry because I still didnt know the language and I didnt know the spaces, but I wasnt as worried about getting mugged at night if I was walking around with friends. Not that thats a huge worry here, but its still a worry. So, its something to think about. Also, just how crappy our public transportation system is. I remember when I moved to Denver from Fort Collins and they have just very very minimal public transport. I was like, Oh Denver has the Lightrail system, its so cool. Then we went to China and I was like, Oh my god, theres a G train, this is even cooler! So, I feel like coming back to America I was like, Wow, this sucks. I was so sad to come back. I remember on the plane where I was by myself, I didnt know anyone from the trip and I just remember trying to fight back tears because I did not want to come back home. I felt like coming back Id be coming back to a life that was regular and consistent and busy, and nothing was going to be surprising and it has fulfilled that. Nothing has been really exciting for me. Thats not how it was in China. Everything was new and exciting, and I remember having a conversation in China about you could spend years here exploring cities and still touch only a small percentage of China. To me that seems unfathomable. I feel like here Ive already been to this place five times this week and Ive done this thing six times today. My perceptions of America, at least with my background and identity, its kind of boring.
R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved or not?
P12: Not at all, or a little bit. I definitely had a better understanding of where they were in relation to other things. But just giving me a blank map of just the country with nothing to reference, it was a mess. I would not be able to do it that well. Probably better than people that havent been to China or looked at a map, but I think it improved a little bit, but I dont know that Im necessarily good or bad with maps. Im in a class right now. Its a globalization class and the very first day she had us polot where countries were on a map and I just thought, Im the worst geography major ever! I did alright, but I just felt s ashamed. Thats how I felt when I was doing the China map. Im so ashamed. Ive been to China, I should know these places!
R: Do you think it would help you if maps were utilized during the program? Would that help you orient yourself and remember these places?
P12:1 think so. It seems kind of obvious, and a little childish, but I think it would be helpful to reference maps throughout the program. Even, we can still grow up in areas in America, there are a lot of people who grow up in America and still dont know where they are in relation to other places. If you give them a map they wont be able to tell you where their state is or where their city is. I think being able to go through these spaces and showing us where it is in relations to these natural features and these provinces and these areas and the world as a whole, I think maybe makes it a little more impactful. Its not like youre just traversing through the city, but
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youre traversing through the space in the world. I think it would be important to see where that is in relation to other things. So, short answer: yes.
R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?
P12: Totally, yeah. I felt so sad when I came back home, and for the same reasons I said Im an antsy person. My brother has lived in Spain and hes traveled all throughout Europe and Mexico. Hes been to Southeast Asia too, so hes been to a lot of places. Im kind of jealous and I feel like I need to try to catch up to him. He really found himself doing all of that, and I feel like Im still trying to find myself. I feel like I cant do that here, so thats why I want to keep going.
R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program?
P12: My experience in China left me speechless and in awe. It made leaving China and coming back home nearly impossible, and I think it made me grow a deeper appreciation for how I occupy spaces and how sometimes not everyone might have t hat choice.
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APPENDIX C
Internal Review Board Documents
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University Df Colorado Hospital Denver Health Medical Center Veteran's Administration Medical Center Children's Hospital Colorado University of Colorado Denver Colorado Prevention Center
Certificate of Exemption
26-Apr-2017
Investigator: Tirzha Zabarauskas
Subject: COMIRB Protocol 17-0338 Initial Application
Review Date: 26-Apr-2D17
Effective Date: 26-Apr-2D17
Anticipated Completion Date: 25-Apr-2D20
Sponsors):
_ Impacts of a short-term study abroad program on students' understandings of space and place
Ue: in China
Exempt Category: 1
Submission ID: APPO01-2
SUBMISSION DESCRIPTION:
APP001-2: Response to Incomplete Submission Determined to be Exempt
This protocol was submitted for Expedited IRAC review but determined to be Exempt Research
APPO01-1: Initial Expedited IRAC Submission
Your COMIRB Initial submission APP001-2 has been APPROVED FOR EXEMPTION. Periodic continuing review is not required. For the duration of your protocol, any change in the experimental designi'contenti'personnel of this study must be approved by COMIRB before implementation of the changes.
The anticipated completion date of this protocol is 25-Apr-2020. COMIRB will administratively close this project on this date
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Consent Form
Principal Investigator: Tirzha Marie Zabarauskas COMIRB No: 17-0338 Version Date: March 16, 2017
Study Title: Impacts of a short-term study abroad program on students' understandings of space and place in China
You are being asked to be in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. A member of the research team will describe this study to you and answer all of your questions. Please read the information below and ask questions about anything you dont understand before deciding whether or not to take part.
Why is this study being done?
The goal of this study is to leam more about what students gain academically and culturally from participating in a short-term study abroad program.
You are being asked to be in this research study because you are enrolled in Sustainability along the Yangtze" during Maymester 2017.
Up to 16 people will participate in the study.
What happens if I join this study?
If you join the study, you will be asked to complete surveys before and after the program. Additionally you will be asked to complete a series of mapping activities before, during, and after the program. A post-program interview will be scheduled for August to discuss your experiences in China. In all, the study period will last from April through August.
What are the possible discomforts or risks?
There are no anticipated risks with this study, however you will be asked questions about your experiences as a participant in the study abroad program. Interviews may be awkward for certain persons, and all steps will be taken to ensure that it is as easy and comfortable as possible.
What are the possible benefits of the study?
This study is designed for the researcher to leam more about how students do or do not benefit from non-tnaditional short-term study abroad programs, specifically Sustainability along the Yangtze. Knowledge gained from this research will help
Consent Template Social and Behavioral
CF-156, Effective 4-20-2010
Page 1 of 3 Initials_____
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Consent Form
inform decision makers about whether to include study abroad opportunities in degree programming. It may also inform prospective students on whether they should consider enrolling in a short-term study abroad program to meet their educational goals.
Will I be paid for being in the study? Will I have to pay for anything?
While this research does not include funding for participants, it will not cost you any additional funds beyond what you are already paying in tuition and travel expenses for your study abroad program in which you are enrolled.
Is my participation voluntary?
Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are entitled.
What happens if I am injured or hurt during the study?
Any potential for injuries associated with this study are no different from the risks involved in day-to-day activity as part of the study abroad program in which you are enrolled. The University of Colorado Denver has no plan to pay for physical or psychological injury associated with this study. If you have questions, please contact Tirzha Zabarauskas at 720.233.8142
Who do I call if I have questions?
The researcher carrying out this study is Tirzha Zabarauskas. You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions or concerns at any time, you may call Tirzha Zabarauskas at 720-233-8142.
You may have questions about your rights as someone in this study. You can call Tirzha Zabarauskas or the Multiple Institutional Review Board {IRB) with any questions you have. The contact number for IRB is 303-724-1055.
Who will see my research information?
We will do everything we can to keep your records a secret, but we cannot guarantee this.
Both the records that identify you and the consent form signed by you may be looked at by others.
Consent Template Social and Behavioral
CF-156, Effective 4-20-2010
Page 1 of 2 Initials______
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Consent Form
Federal agencies that monitor human subjects research
Human Subject Research Committee
The group doing the study
Regulatory officials from the institution where the research is being conducted who want to make sure the research is safe
The results from the research may be shared at a meeting. The results from the research may be in published articles. Your name will be kept private when information is presented.
Audio recordings will be obtained during interviews. These recordings will be accessible only to Tirzha Zabarauskas and stored on a secure server at University of Colorado Denver.
Agreement to be in this study
I have read this paper about the study or it was read to me. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that being in this study is voluntary. I choose to be in this study: I will get a copy of this consent form.
Signature:_____________________________________________ Date:_____________
Print Name:____________________________________________
Consent form explained by:____________________________________ Date :_
Print Name: __________________________________________________
Investigator
Date:
Consent Template Social and Behavioral
CF-156, Effective 4-20-2010
Page 1 of 1 Initials
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Full Text

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IMPACTS OF A SHORT TERM STUDY UNDERSTANDING OF SPACE AND PLACE IN CHINA by TIRZHA MARIE ZABARAUSKAS B.A., University of Colorado Denver, 2015 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Applied Geography and Geospatial Sciences Program 2017

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ii 2017 TIRZHA MARIE ZABARAUSKAS ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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iii This thesis for the Master of Arts degree by Tirzha Marie Zabarauskas has been approved for the Applied Geography and Geospatial Science Program by Peter J. Anthamatten, Chair Bryan S. Wee Sharon D. Unkart Date: December 16, 2017

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iv Zabarauskas, Tirzha Marie (M.A. Applied Geography and Geospatial Science Program) Impacts of a Short Place in China Thesis directed by Associate Professor Peter J. Anthamatten ABSTRACT Previous r esearch has demonstrated that study abroad programs provide students with a range of benefits, and that these benefits can transform learners into global citizens. Current research is heavily qualitative and anecdotal. While this type of research is important, there is a lack of quantitative analysis of gains through travel study. Even less is known about short term study abroad programs lasting only a few weeks. Sustainability along the Yangtze is a short Sciences department. As the explicit goal of the course is to support goals of its home d epartment, Geography and Environmental Sciences, the current study aimed to determine through a series of mapping exercises, surveys, and i nterviews. This work showed that increased, and they could more accurately map cities traveled through, despite the fact that understandings of culture shifted and t hey gained an overall more positive perception of China and Chinese culture. Th is research may inform additional study to better understand how knowledge of space and place is influenced through short term study abroad programs. The form and content of t his abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Peter Anthamatten

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v Lisa Ling For Anna: Never stop exploring.

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vi ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS This thesis would not have been possible without the support and encouragement of many individuals. I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to all of them. First and foremost, I would not have been able to accomplish this without the understanding of my family. Their support was unwavering through long days and nights in front of a computer screen and weeks away in China. They helped move schedules around I owe my sincerest thanks to my thesis committee. Deepest thanks to Dr. Peter Anthamatten, whose steadfast enthusiasm and backing for this research pushed me to library of literature and providing pep talks throughout the semesters to keep me going. Last but not least, my thanks to Dr. Sharon Unkart for lending her expertise and providing valuable resources for this endeavor. I could not have accomplished this research, nor would it ha ve become what it did, without this team by my side. Finally, I wish to thank my participants for sharing a part of their travel study experience with me. Their willingness to complete several activities and surveys made this research and the findings po ssible.

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vii TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE II. III. IV. V. APPENDIX A. MAP TEMPLATE B. INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTIONS C. INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD DOCUMENTS

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1 CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE In The First Time Effect, Josh McKeown defin es a study abroad experience as: short term (as short as 1 week) or longer (up to a full academic year), during which students physically leave the United States to engage in college study, cultural development, is a subject with a worthwhile but limited, body of research (McKeown, 2009). Students participating in study abroad programs from the United States have visited all seven continents to gain skills in foreign language, field work, humanitarian aid, architecture, geograph y, and many other disciplines. While research on study abroad programs is growing, there are major gaps in the literature Particularly little is understood about the educational benefits of short term programs which t he Association of International Educa tors (NAFSA, formerly National Association of Foreign Student Advisers) describe s as lasting three to six weeks. Short term study abroad programs are often appealing for students. According to a 1990 National Task Force on Undergraduate Education Abroad, perceived to be an option. The more typical study abroad models and structures mostly ignore the needs of such students (p. ix). While ane cdotal evidence of the benefits of study abroad programs is plentiful, m ore research is necessary to provide evidence of measurable benefits to students taking part in these programs. This study aim ed to investigate gains in cultural and spatial knowledge using qualitative and quan titative methods. The purpose of this project is to answer the research questions: (1) How w three week course traveling along the Yangtze River from Shanghai to Three Gorges Dam, and (2) h ow will

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2 their short term study abroad course ? These questions were explored through data collection occurring before, during, and after the study abr oad program. Background and Literature Review History of Study Abroad in the United States The first study abroad program in the United States was established in 1923 at the University of Delaware by Modern Languages Professor Raymond Kirkbride. Kirkbri de gained a complex understanding of French culture and language t hrough his service as a soldier in World War I. Recognizing the potential to provide the same learning opportunities for his students, Kirkbride and University of Delaware president Walter Hullihen sought support from Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover, local philanthropists, and businessmen, including Pierre du Pont of the prominent du Pont family. With the exception of a hiatus from 1948 to 1970 ( due to war and post war circumstances in Europe ) the University of Delaware has sponsored students abroad every year for multiple terms since the inception of the program In 1971, the university also pioneered short term study programs by offering short winter programs with the goal of creatin g global citizens (Kochanek, 1998). In recent decades, the popularity of study abroad programs in the U.S. has grown. A 2005 report from the Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program articulated the goal of increasing the number o f students studying abroad to one million annually by the 2016 2017 school year. The commission was established by U.S. Congress with the goals of expanding study abroad programs, increasing global competence among students, and meeting national needs In spite of steady annual growth in study abroad programs, there were around 300,000 students studying abroad from all states in 2013 2014,

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3 far short of the one million student goal (NAFSA 2015). Traditional study abroad programs with durations of several months or longer may be prohibitive for many students. With the rising popularity of short term programs and the increased popularity of study a broad programs in general, the one million student goal may still be reached in future years. Previ ous Study Abroad Research The benefits to students studying in another country for any length of time are well art iculated in academic literature; such benefits include language immersion (Ingram 2005), engagement in the international community (Schattle, 2009) and an expanded world view (Dolby, 2004) Joseph Hoff (2008) argues that students also gain global competence, intercultural sensitivity, and are more likely to consider or adopt an ethno relative view of the world. While there are tens of thousand s of positive personal accounts from students who have participated in study abroad programs, little research has attempted to systematically evaluate student learning or growth from academic endeavors in countries outside of their home country in short te rm programs F ew studies have focused on discipline specific outcomes; existing work generally highlight s changes in countries or how they feel about their travel experience. Study abroad is widely ch aracterized as which can be defined as the process of moving toward a frame of reference that is more inclusive o f other viewpoints and less egocentric (Mezirow, 1997). Following multiple years of growth, short term programs now account for most of the enrollment in study abroad programs in the US These programs provide access for students who cannot participate in traditional, longer term programs due to cost, length of time spent away from home, or other obligations. In spite of its popularity and per ceived accessibility

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4 semester long or year long programs due to the belief th experience may be better than none (McKeown, 2009). Short term programs should not be viewed term programs may successfully meet program goals (Lewin, 2009). The potential learning benefits of study abroad are manifold. Study abroad programs increase interdisciplinary understanding and possibilities for course offerings and interdepartmental cooperation and are as varied and numerous as courses offered on typical college campuses (Sp encer, 2009). Just as local experiential learning (e.g visits to museums) can combine lessons in history, social impacts, and international conflict, study abroad can combine experiences so that students can effectively gain knowledge in multiple fields and the connections between them (Spencer, 2009). A 1997 study (Falk) about the long term impacts of school field trips found that participants could recall specific aspects of their field trip well into adulthood. Nearly all participants in the study reme mbered something learned during a field trip from their youth that related to the subject matter being taught. The outcomes of study abroad programs specific to China have not been exhaustively researched; however a few studies have examined t he link between travel study programs in China and an improved grasp of Mandarin These studies focused largely on long term study abroad programs, found that immersion in Chinese culture and courses language, which also allowed for deeper connections to residents n ear their host school (Du, 2013). One study focused on a two part course that included a traditional classroom

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5 component followed by a 16 day program in China that visited three regions. The study used identical surveys after each part of the course to det ermine that the classroom portion portion issues and altered their self awareness (Lumkes, Hallett, & Vallade, 20 11). Study Abroad as Transformative Learning Transformative learning challenges our worldviews and highlights the reasons why we understand and feel about the world the way we do (Mezirow, 1991). Through that inform and shape experiences, lenses through which the world i s viewed by an individual. Adults tend to reject concepts that do not fit within their assumptions as inferior. Transformative learning then, challenges individual s to self reflect and discriminately consider their own views when presented with opposin g discourse In order for learning to become transformative, a disorienting component is required, followed by critical reflection Study abroad programs may lend themselves to transformative learning because they place students into disorienting situations and facilitate reflection of those experiences (Stone, 2017). Study abroad courses of any l udents into new environments and experiences that can contest held beliefs and worldviews (Ritz, 2011). A small amount of work has sought to explore the link between duration of a study abroad program and its ability to lead to transformative learning. Some researchers have found that

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6 transformative learning is less likely in shorter programs than longer ones (Dwyer, 2004) while other s have found that short term prog rams can provide more opportunities than traditional programs due to their intense nature, so long as the program is paired with the guidance of a faculty member who implements intentional curricula and is cognizant of planned course outcomes (Donnelly Smith, 2009 ). In a survey of 3,723 study abroad students, Dwyer assessed academic and personal achievements while comparing the varying lengths of study abroad programs. Respondents had participated in study abroad programs of six weeks, 16 weeks, or 32 weeks. Survey career choices, intercultural development, and personal growth. while students in six week programs achieved benefits of their pro grams, the greatest gains in all categories were experienced by students who participated in a longer program. Respondents to the survey reported higher instances of lasting impacts on world view, changed political and social views, and a higher tolerance of ambiguity The differences between respondents of varying study abroad program length s however, were small and with a carefully planned, intensive program, students of short term programs stand to gain as mu ch as more traditional students (Dwyer, 2004). A study of 6,000 study abroad alumni from the University of Minnesota found no significant difference between short term program students and long term program students in global engagement, which was defined as civic commitment and volunte erism internationally and at home (Donnelly Smith, 2009). While program length can work against transformative learning from occurring for example, if a short program is not paired with a well equipped faculty member o ther factors have been identified th at may prevent study abroad from transforming students.

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7 Foronda and Belknap (2012) conducted a study of 34 students who had participated in a study abroad program in a low perspectives and whether Perspective Transformation Model ) The researchers named three factors that may prevent transformative learning during study abroad programs: (1) egocentrism and emotional disconnect (2) perceived pow erlessness, and a (3) vacation mindset. Egocentrism is the inability or unwillingness to understand other perspectives and is often described as self centeredness. Egocentrism builds roadblocks to transformation as participants fail to attempt to see other perspectives or seek to understand their classmates or the r esidents of their host country. Egocentrism separates s tudents from their experience as they view themselves as outside of it, as spectators in an arena. Students can become emotio nally disconnected as a means of protecting their world views or themselves from emotional trauma. Foronda and Belknap describe an example of this in their study of nursing students, such as when students referred to patients with animal metaphors ( e.g., e lderly took photos of dying patients to show other students at home (Foronda & Belknap, 2012). Participants may also feel overwhelmed and powerless when faced with new experiences that make them feel ill equipped to take action and implement change in their views or daily lives. While transformative learning may have occurred for these students, transformed perspectives fail to take place due to a type of fear from th e participants (Foronda & Belknap, 2012). While this occurred for many of the nursing students in Foronda it may also present itself in study abroad courses when students

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8 experience poverty stricken areas, locations devastated by natural disaster, or other areas where participants perceive great need they cannot address Lastly, a student with a vacation mindset approaches a study abroad program as a superficial experience. Students with this mindset often fail to immerse themselve s into the culture of the host country deeply enough to trigger the disorientation needed to achieve transformative learning (Foronda & Belknap, 2012 ) Students with a vacation mindset seek out restaurants, and shopping opportunities and other su ch activities frequented mostly by other travelers rather than interacting with residents of the host country. These students often study abroad curriculum Study abroad is an excellent instrument for ensuring that transformative learning occurs, and transformative learning is imperative for adults to widen their world views and engage with the international community. Transformative learning can only oc cur through carefully planned programs, however, that force students into disorienting situations that encourage critical evaluation of previously held beliefs. A Place for Cognitive Mapping There is a lack of data connecting study abroad experiences with gains in spatial knowledge. Improved spatial knowledge through travel can help students better understand their place in the world and their connections to other places. Cognitive mapping, studied extensively in the field of psychology, offers a useful route to exploring this type of learning. Downs and Stea (1973) define the process of cognitive mapping as acquisition of knowledge about an environment th r ough direct engagement with that environment. This knowledge takes shape in the form of identities of landmarks, distances, directions, space between

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9 landmarks, time it takes to travel, among others. The dominant framework in cognitive mapping was introduced by Siegel and White in 1975. This framework suggests that spatial knowledge about a place progresses from landmark knowledge to route knowledge, and then ultimately to survey knowledge (Ishikawa and Montello, 2006). Landmark knowledge involves recognizing discrete objects or scenes in the environment. This progresses to route knowledge and direction (whether one would turn left before or after a particular boulder, for example.) Survey knowledge is a more advanced type of spatial knowledge that allows a person to imagine a two dimensional version of their environment and can understand relationships between landmarks at scale, even if the person has never traveled directly between these landmarks. Ro ute knowledge is a more complete unders tanding of the environm ent (2012). A large number of studies have been conducted which incorporate cognitive maps from participants of their neighborhoods, schools, cities, or countries they have visited. This research is beneficial for understanding how people comprehend and navigate their environments. Cognitive maps of a neighborhood may differ between groups of different socio economic classes or between genders (Mondschein et al, 2013). What is missing, however, is research that demonstrates how visiting a new place ch anges u nderstanding about cities or geographic connections on a local scale Will mapping abilities improve when a country or region is considered in its entirety? Cognitive map research has traditionally focused on local scale mapping, such as how accurately a person can map a route to which he or she has been exposed to or routinely travels. One such study questioned twenty four adults who the researchers drove through a neighborhood in California over the course of ten weekly sessions. After each session, participants were asked to draw the route

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10 and the r esults were analyzed for accuracy in direction and distance ( Ishikaw a and Montello, 2006). This study offers insight on how cognitive mapping can be used to determine improved spatial awarene ss after exposure to an environment, but does not address study abroad directly Researchers have failed to provide quantitative data on whether traveling or studying abroad increases the accuracy with which people can locate cities on a map at a smaller s cale such as landmarks in a city. Space versus Place Space and place are distinctive concepts in the field of geography. In Yi Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience (1977) Tuan describes space as an abstract concept Space is undifferentiated until humans give it meaning through personal experience. Once value has been endowed upon a space, it becomes Place then, refers to how humans make sense of the world around them. In Place: An Introduction Tim Cresswell (2015) further illustrates the relationship of space and place by describing traveling up the coast of Canada to map the land. Colonialists were interested in naming landmarks and spaces on the coast, while th e sea was an empty space to them. They noted that native canoeists seem to meander aimlessly from one point to another, but the sea apparently aimless travels were informed by meanings related to places in the sea, places of spirits and dangers passed down through generations. While t he sea was a blank space to the colonialists the natives had transformed it into place endowed with meaning Study abroad programs offer a unique opportunity for students to shape their sense of space and place through experiences in a host country. The experience can transform w hat may begin as a space on a map with no real meaning to a place For many American

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11 students, China is little more than a concept from history books, mo vies, and anecdotes from others. How could spending time in China shift perspective s for these students to give them a sense of China a s a meaning laden place ? Research Questions In his work The Birth of the Clinic Michel Foucault describes the beginnings of eighteenth century philosophy as ault, 1976). This presents a romantic view of the traveler e the very act of being in an experience add to spe cific goals of a college or department ? While other studies have claimed that study abroad programs produce transform ative learning it is worth investigating w hether those transformations can be translated into measurable outcome academic degree program goals There are visible gaps in research on short term study abroad programs and c ognitive mapp ing. Research on this topic using these methods, could serve both to improve study abroad teaching practices and provide support for existing programs. Can methods from cognitive mapping be used as a tool to gauge learning outcomes from short term study abroad programs? How do short term study abroad programs improve cognitive mapping abilities of t he participants? How can research that combines these concepts inform decision makers about the usefulness of short term study abroad programs? Study abroad program s are a form of experiential learning, described by David Kolb ( 1984). Kolb designates four components to the experiential learning cycle: (1) concrete experience, (2) observations and refl ections, (3) formation of abstract concepts and

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12 generalizations, and (4) active experimentation. This framework may inform the outcomes of a study abroad program of any length. Additionally, the collaboration between professors and the cohort of students participating in a study abroad will inform outco mes. Each participant and instructor brings prior experiences and values as well as perceptions of the host country that may influence their understanding an d learning from the experience and the program itself. Outcomes from study abroad programs are va ried and merit investigation This study focuse d on how perceptions of China were altered, as well as whether a y to map the visited region was improved Lastly, I discuss and analyze how this study abroad program addresses degree and department program goals

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13 CHAPTER II METHODS Program and Participants Sustainability along the Yangtze is a short term study abroad program offered through Sciences Department during the U the Spring semester and the beginning of the Summer semester in the month of May. Classes meet for fewer weeks but for longer hours than in traditional semester lo ng classes yielding fast paced and intense progression through course material Maymester and its winter equivalent, Winterim are conducive to short term study abroad programs. The 2017 China program commenced on May 16, 2017 and concluded on June 1, 2 017. The program is one among a growing number of short term program offerings from the University of Colorado Denver ( UCD ) In 2009, 455 UCD students participated in short term study abroad programs ; by 2016 that number increased to 910, with Winterim 2017 showi ng further increased enrollment (Office of International Affairs, 2016) Participation in this study was l imited to students enrolled in Su stainability along the Yangtze. T welve students enrolled in the course not including the researcher con ducting this study. All twelve agreed to participate in the study and signed waivers at a pre departure meeting. The group of students consisted of four graduate and seven undergraduate students and one undergraduate student were males and the other nine students were females.

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14 The goals of the course, as outlined in the course syllabus included an integrative approach to eight research topics: (1) cross cultural views of nature and environmental protection, (2) social and environmental aspects of large scale water development projects, (3) challenges of urban sustainability, (4) population, migratio n, and social disparity, (5) agricultural farming landscapes and the environment, (6) environmental education and future prospects for sustainability, (7) colonial heritage representation and historic landscape preservation, and (8) symbolic architecture, national identity, and place making. Requirements of the course included daily participation, a daily field journal, and a photo or video essay ( Page & Wee, 2017 ). Table 1 : Study Participant Composition Male Female Undergraduate 1 3 Graduate 1 7 Geography and Environmental Sciences department 2 9 Education department 0 1 Students began the program in Shanghai, China. The itinerary moved the class group through Shanghai, Nanjing, Jiujang, Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang before returning to Shanghai. A minimum of one night was spent in each of the cities visited, and students were given opportunities to experience each city both with and without a guide (either a professional Chinese tour guide or a professor leadi ng the program) The curriculum included lessons in Chinese history, urban and rural transitions within the Yangtze River Valley, economy, agriculture, population growth, hydropower projects and the Three Gorges Dam, resettlement, and other topics related to the sustainability of China.

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15 Figure 1 : Map of Sustainability along the Yangtze route. From east to west: Shanghai, Nanjing, Jiujang/Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang The curriculum in Shanghai and Lushan relied heavily on guidance from the two instructors leading the program. All transportation in Shanghai was through the public subway system or on foot In contrast, tour guides and private buses were used in Nanjing, Wuhan, and Yichang. Students were given time to explore these cities on their own by foot or other transit Most evening hours were left open to students to use as they wanted, while scheduled course time took place in the morning through most afternoons. The Sciences department Dr s Brian Page and Bryan Wee Both instructors have led Sustainability along the Yangtze in the past and have personal and research interests in China. Dr. Page has expertise in urbanization, historic landscapes, urban geography, colonial landscapes in China, and human geography. Dr. Wee is an experienced educator and researcher in environmental education, human geography, sustainability, and human geography.

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16 The researcher for this study played multiple role s, both as an observer and a participant in Sustainability along the Yangtze. Participation in the program enabled a thorough understanding of the daily interactions of the student group and movement throug h enabling analysis of its strengths and weaknesses. Study Instruments Map Template Students were given mapping exercises to examine whether participation in the study abroad program change d ability to accurately map locations in China. A map template was created with ArcGIS software that included East and South Central China, the Yangtze River, a nd an inset showing the regions within China ( Appendix A ) At a pre departure meeting, students were asked to place points on the map for several locations in China including Shanghai, Nanjing, Lushan, Wuhan, and Yichang. The same mapping exercise was ad ministered at a post program meeting, six weeks after returning to Denver. Student work on the map template s was scanned and saved as image files which were then georeferenced in ArcMap so that each mapped point could be digitized. GIS files were created for each participant that contained their pre and post test points. Mapped points from the pre and post test template were also organized into shapefiles by city (e.g., a ll test Nanjing points were merged into a single shapefile, and l ikewise for post test po ints ) The results of the mapping exercise were analyzed with ArcGIS software (ArcGIS 10.3). The points were summarized with mean points and standard deviational ellipses on a

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17 map of China. Th ese are constructed by calculating sepa rate standard deviations for a set of points from a mean center for the x coordinates and y coordinates to define the x and y axes for a standard deviational ellipse. A standard deviational ellipse can be analyzed for changes in the area of the polygon, t he rotation of the primary axis of the ellipse, and the length of the and post tests to compare changes in their spatial knowledge of cities visited in China. Points we re also analyzed for their displacement from the actual city center locations. This provides and how that knowledge changed. Likert Survey perceptions. P articipants were given a Likert scale survey to complete both before and after the study abroad program. A Likert survey orders responses to a set of quest ions to enable some quantitative comparison and analysis In this case of this study, responses were given strongly strongly Such a survey enables coding with numeric values to assess responses facilitating quantitat ive analyses of change s in knowledge and a ttitudes The sixteen statements on the survey were designed to address student beliefs, cultural differences, personal freedoms, and overall opinion of the host country. Table 2 : Likert S urvey S tatements I feel comfortable visiting China I am familiar with cultural customs in China I am familiar with places we will visit I can stay connected with friends and family through social media in China I have more freedoms in the United States than residents of China There are lots of pe ople in China who speak English I have a favorable view of China I have a favorable view of Chinese culture I understand my connections to China Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United States In China and the US, nature is accesse d similarly It is easy to access phone services in China It is easy to access internet services in China I understand the roles religion plays in China There are different types of housing structures in different places

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18 Cognitive Maps While traveling through China, participants were asked to m ap what they remember about three Chinese cities The three cities chosen for this exercise were Shanghai Lushan and Yichang selected because their highly contrasting environments Shanghai, one of the largest cities in the world, was the first city students visited It is a city of dense housing structures, carefully planned tra nsit, with a population of approximately 25 million. Shanghai has former British and French settlements that were once overseen by their respective foreign governments a modern financial district, and old neighborhoods slated for demolition to make room f or modern high rise apartment buildings. The next city examined in this study was Lushan I n contrast to Shanghai, Lushan is a National Park with lush forests, dozens of temples and monasteries, and more open space than Shanghai. The weather is very cool in the summer months, in contrast to the heat and humidity of other cities visited. Lushan offered students more opportunity to interact with Finally Yichang was chosen due to it s being the culmination of the trip and the sit e of the Three Gorges Dam, which was discussed throu ghout the entirety of the program. In addition to the distinctive traits of each city, the locations chosen for this study were situated at the start (Shanghai), middle (Lushan), and end (Yichang ) of the program. Upon completing their visit, s tudents were instructed to map what they remembered about each city The maps were meant to convey a reflection of what students remembered or how they interprete d each place. Cognitive maps the things they remember most, which are often the landmarks or locations they felt a

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19 connection to or spent more time in. The only requirements for these were the names of each participant, but what to map was left open. These were collected as they were completed after each city (Shanghai, Nanjing, and Yichang.) Maps were scanned and stored digitally. These maps were analyzed for co mmon themes or landmarks between participant maps, and anomalies were noted that set maps ap art cognitive maps Prior research lacks a definitive method for categorizing features on cognitive maps. Six categories were developed after an initial review of the maps in order to analyze them further: (1) cultural landmark, (2) natural landmark, (3) water feature, (4) hotel, (5) commerce, and (6) geographic labels. Cultural lan dmarks included human made structures. Natural landmarks were noted for drawing of particular mountains, trees, rocks, or other features on the landscape. Bodies of water, including ponds and rivers, were noted in the water feature category. The hotel cate gory was created Commerce included grocery stores, restaurants, other shops, post offices, and food or souvenir carts. Finally, geographic labels were noted w hen participants labeled a neighborhood, river, mountain, street, or other named feature with its proper name. Interviews perceptions about China, and how these chang ed throughout the course of the program Participants were asked about difficulties from participating the program and their overall perceptions of China and the United States. A list of seven questions guided the interview process, and further clarifying questions were asked as needed and determined by each ses to the outlined questions. The intent of the interviews was to gain a n

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20 understanding of the impact of the study abroad program on participants as well as to gain insight to results of the other research tools (maps and survey) Table 3 : I n t e r v i e w Q u e s t i o n s Tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability Along the Yangtze. What were you mos t surprised to learn about China? Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? What about moments that were easier? How would you describe the China you experienced to other people? How does this differ from the China you thought you would see? How have your perceptions of the United States changed? Of Denver/Colorado? Do you think your ability to map the cities we visited improved after traveling through them? Why/why not? Can you sum up your experience with this program in two or three sentences? Additional questions were determined during the interview based on survey questions and mapping results. In addition to a set of pre selected interview questions, participants reviewed changes to their pre and post test mapping exercises. Participants were shown their cognitive maps and asked to describe the places they mapped and why they mapped them They were encouraged to discuss the view they chose for their maps ( namely, aerial versus oblique), an d to explain the points of interest they included on their maps Interviews were scheduled with participants in September, 2017, giving students time readjust to being back in Denver By this time, the maps had been analyzed to aid in the interview proces s. Among twelve students who participated in the study abroad program, seven agreed to participate in an interview. Participants were asked to choose a place convenient and comfortable for their interview, either on or off campus. Two of the seven interviewees chose to meet off campus at restaurants. One student chose to meet on campus at an outdoor picnic table. office for their interviews. R esponses to interview questions were recorded and later transcribed (Appendix B )

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21 CHAPTER II I RESULTS Mapping Exercise Examination of the results of the mapping exercise provide d objective measures of changes in spatial knowledge. Standard deviational ellipses for each of the cities were smaller in the post test maps than in the pre test map s (Figure 2 ) Distribution of the X coordinates is a measure of the east west dispersion of the data. The s tandard distribution of the X coordinates decreased for every city except Shanghai, which increased by only 0.055 ( i.e., results where the x coordinate is concerned were similar for Shanghai for both pre and post test sets of points) A decrease in this value indicates that the points became more condensed along this axis after participating in the course The standard distribution along the Y axis (north south extent) in three of the five cities (Shanghai, Nanjing, and Wuhan) decrease d. The area of the ellipse is a measure of the ov erall dispersion of the data ; large areas indicate high dispersion among a set of points while smaller ellipses indicate less dispersion. The most dramatic decrease in ellipse size was for the city of Yichang, with a decrease of 38.8 square kilometers While the most dramatic shift between the two tests ellipses was for Yichang every ellipse decreased in area in the post test points. A third ellipse was created for Yichang as a result of an obvious outlier in the pre test data. One participant mapped Y ichang o n the map inset rather than on the main map, causing a significant shift in data. While this information is valuable and allows for analy the course of the program, it skewed the data and gives the impression that spatial the case.

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22 Table 4 : Changes in S t a n d a r d D e v i a t i o n a l E l l i p s e s Mapped points from pre and post test points was subtracted from the average displacement for the post test points to indicate by h ow much the participant ability to accurately map the locations changed after participation in the course. Table 5 : Changes in Displacement of Mapped Points City Ellipse length Ellipse Area X Center Y Center X Stand. Dist. Y Stand. Dist. Rotation Shanghai 6.822 7.508 0.850 0.347 0.055 2.137 122.740 Nanjing 8.046 8.765 1.340 1.015 0.702 1.747 1.177 Lushan 0.094 2.365 0.338 0.290 0.419 0.270 8.424 Wuhan 1.246 2.792 0.124 0.272 0.299 0.181 6.760 Yichang 26.795 38.823 2.201 0.129 9.396 2.072 20.774 Yichang No outlier 11.643 57,266.749 14.647 24.442 68.564 37.685 8.107 City Pre test Displacement (km) Post test Displacement (km) Change in Displacement ( km ) Shanghai 176 .7 91.5 85.3 Nanjing 185.2 111.9 73 .3 Lushan 179.8 205.5 25.7 Wuhan 298.3 291.1 7.2 Yichang 581..9 443.5 138.4 Yichang (outlier removed) 454.2 443.5 10.7

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23 Figure 2 Standard deviational ellipses for the cohort are show from points mapped prior to departure and points mapped after then program concluded. The ellipses show an overall improvement in accuracy of mapped points from the participant group.

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24 Survey Responses to the Likert survey were co ded on a numeric scale from 1 to 5, with 1 An independent samples t test was conducted to examine statistical significance in the score chan ges. The survey analysis revealed key changes in res ponse s from participating the course Th e average response to whether each participant felt comfortable visiting China increased by 1.5 after the conclusion of the program. Other large increases were obs erved for questions about culture and housing. Notably, the average response value about the belief that many residents of China speak English decreased by one q uarter point after the program. Examining these changes can yield insight to themselves were impacted by the program. An Independent Samples t 95% confidence interval. P values were recorded for the test for difference for each survey stat ement. There were s tatistically significant differences between the pre and post test responses on four of the statements, highlighted in Table 5.

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25 Table 6 : Change in Responses on Likert Survey from Pre test to Post test Survey statement Change in Mean p value I feel comfortable visiting China 0.333 .294 I am familiar with cultural customs in China 1.500 .000 I am familiar with the places we will visit 1.500 .002 I can stay connected with friends and family through social media in China 0.500 .232 I have more freedoms in the United States than residents of China 0.083 .850 I can access foods I'm familiar with in China 0.083 .858 There are lots of people in China who speak English 0.250 .549 I have a favorable view of China 0.000 .069 I have a favorable view of Chinese culture 0.417 .083 I understand my connections to China 0.333 .399 Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United States 0.250 .475 There is similar access to nature in China and the US 0.250 .552 It is easy to access phone services in China 0.250 .566 It is easy to access internet services in China 0.250 .530 I understand the roles religion plays in China 1.000 .002 I am familiar with different types of housing structures 1.083 .009 Cognitive Maps Cognitive maps were analyzed for themes and anomalies among participants. These were used for qualitative data analysis country and were used to guide interview questions. drawn maps were organized into six categories: (1) cultural landmarks, (2) natural landmarks, (3) water, (4) hotel, (5) commerce, and (6) geographic labels. Cultural landmarks constitute any man made structure or sacred or historic site. Natural landmarks included any other specifically drawn and/or labeled natural landmark such as mountains, cliffs, animals encountered, or vegetation but excluding water Lakes, rivers, and reservoirs were noted and included in the water c ategory. The Yangtze River was a key topic in the course and so it was particularly relevant to note whether water was a

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26 labeled the host hotel was noted for each map. Additionally, any type of feature indicating commerce was noted in the maps. These features include d post offices, restaurants, stores, and street vendors. Lastly, a category was created for geographic labels, which could demonstrate an increase in geograp hic knowledge among participants. Marks were given in In Shanghai, most participant maps included cultural landmarks, water, and geographic labels. Most of these geographic labels were the Pudong Financial District (or some variation of the labeling of frequented by st udents and near th e host hotel (Figure 3 ). Very few students included natural landmarks in their maps. Additionally, few students included the host h otel in their maps of Shanghai. Figure 3 : Examples of cognitive maps of Shanghai. Each of the twelve participants included cultural landmarks in the form of historic are as, sacred sites, or village areas in their maps of Lushan. Additionally, natural landmarks there. Students participated in several outdoor walks within Lushan, w hich may have had

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27 strong influence on their maps. In contrast, only five out of the twelve maps contained water, commerce, or geographic labels. Figure 4 : Examples of cognitive maps of Lushan All twelve maps for Yichang included cultural landmarks, similar to the maps of the other cities Cultural landmarks often play a huge role in study abroad program itineraries such as Sustainability along the Yangtze The program culminated in Yichang, the site of Three Gorges Dam. Three Gorges Dam is the largest dam in the world, and the program intentionally follow s the river valley to reach the structure. Perhaps as a result of the emphasis on the dam and the river in Yichang, water was featured in all but one of the cognitive map s. The participant that drew the map that omitted any body of water was asked about t his during their interview. S(he) noted that they had a stronger memory of a particular park visited within the city, and so chose to map that instead.

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28 Fi gure 5 : Examples of cognitive maps of Yichang F ewer students ventured away from the host hotel in Yichang to explore the neighborhood around it than in other cities and this is evident in the maps drawn. Only two maps included any type of commerce, and few mapped the location of the hotel or added any geographic labels. Table 7 : Features F rom C ognitive M aps Shanghai (Start) Lushan (Middle) Yichang (End) Cultural landmark 11 12 12 Natural landmark 4 10 6 Water feature 11 5 11 Hotel 4 9 4 Commerce 6 5 2 Geographic labels 9 5 4 Interview s Interviews of participants enabled further insight into experiences, as well as choices made when drawing cognitive maps. Seven among the twelve participants agreed to participate in an interview. Participants who were not interviewed declined to participate due

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29 to conflicting schedules or chose not to respond to interview requests for unknown reasons. Among the seven, all of them remarked that they had an positive experience participating in the study abroad program overall One student, the only student not majoring in a program offered by the Geography and Environmental Sciences department, remarked on how the program has h elped with her goals as an educator: knowing any of the content, not knowing what I was getting into, and I feel like I had this amazing experience. I learned things about geog raphy and sustainability that I never thought I would have, and I made friends and learned about culture. In addition to the positive experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze each participant indicated that he or she would attend another study abroad pro gram if the opportunity arose, with c aveats about the cost and location. One student noted that they would not attend another program in Asia, but would attend one on another continent. Students also cited intensive learning as a reason for wanting to participate in another study abroad program. One student stressed how much she felt she learned that she could not have learned in a classroom setting: ou learn so much more on a trip in the middle of it than you do in a class. I think I coul d have learned about the same things, like the Nanjing massacre or the White Deer Academy, I could have looked at pictures and read about it in a book. But, I would not have learned as much as I did being in those spaces and feeling the way I did and obser ving people interacting with the environments. I would not have learned Six of the seven participants noted that their perceptions of China and the United States had changed because of the study abroad program. Safety was mentioned by several participants in relation to changed perceptions, notably by the female participants. They viewed China as much safer for women than the United States or Denver. Contrasting

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30 anecdotes about walking around at night in the United States v ersus China were given to support the changed perception that China is safer. about how being a female in China ; it was really comfortable and really safe in general. Not that it was en Challeng es in participating in the program mentioned by participants included a sometimes difficult group dynamic, health issues, and lack of familiar foods. Traveling in a grou p can be difficult for many people and travel adds further stressors. Students mention ed not getting along with everyone as one of the most difficult aspects of the trip. Health issues included not being able to cope with the amount of physical activity involved in the program (some days included moderate to rigorous hikes or up to twelve m iles of walking.) Additionally, many participants became sick from minor viruses or from pollution related fatigue. Finally some students noted that finding familiar foods was difficult and eating food cooked in oil or unfamiliar spices every day was hard to cope with, especially if a student was ill. I think it was hard being immersed in a completely different environment with a Overall, students came out of the program with a positive experience and an appreciation for having participated. Full transcripts of interviews are included in the appendices.

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31 Intersection of Results The instruments used in this study were meant to inform one another to yield understanding of how each participant was impacted by Sustainability along the Yangtze The results of each instrument are for a single participant (Participant #1) and are displa yed here to showcase what one full set of data looks like (Figures 6 and 7) Full text of this A ppendix B Figure 6 : Participant 1's pre test (top) and post test (bottom) mapped cities Figure 7 : Cognitive maps from Participant 1 for (A) Shanghai, (B) Yichang, and (C) Nanjing.

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32 Table 8 : Changes in S urvey R esponses for P artipant 1 R e s p o n s e s r a n g e f r o m s t r o n g l y d i s a g r e e ( 1 ) t o s t r o n g l y a g r e e ( 5 ) Pre test Post test I feel comfortable visiting China 4 3 I am familiar with cultural customs in China 1 3 I am familiar with the places we will visit 1 4 I can stay connected with friends and family through social media in China 5 2 I have more freedoms in the United States than residents of China 3 4 I can access foods I'm familiar with in China 3 1 There are lots of people in China who speak English 2 2 I have a favorable view of China 3 4 I have a favorable view of Chinese culture 4 4 I understand my connections to China 2 4 Cities in China are similar to large cities in the United States 2 2 There is similar access to nature in China and the US 5 2 It is easy to access phone services in China 3 2 It is easy to access internet services in China 4 1 I understand the roles religion plays in China 2 4 I am familiar with different types of housing structures across different places in China 4 4

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33 CHAPTER IV DISCUSSION Short term study abroad programs have the potential to create transformative learning experiences for students to encourage changes in perception and opportunities for improved spatial understanding of the host country. In addition to learning more about the country, succeeds in g iving students the benefits discussed in the literature depends on many factors, including group dynamics, course goals and learning objectives, implementation of lessons, and whether students exhibit road blocks to transformative learning as identified by Foronda and Belknap (2012). The purpose of this study wa s to analyze gains in geographic or cultural understanding among participants using several tools. The map templates, cognitive maps, surveys, and interviews provided both quantitative and qualitat ive evidence of what may or may not have be en gained from a sho rt term study abroad program specifically Sustainability along the Yan gtze at University of Colorado Denver. A goal of this project was to derive steps for improving and assessing short term study abroad program. Interpretation of Results Mapping Template The mapping template provided the most robust set of quantitative data in this study. Students identified the locations of cities acro ss smaller total area in the post test maps indicated by the standard deviational ellipses of the points. Smaller areas indicate that the re was less spatial dispersion and that the mapped points were closer to one another ; i.e. the points were less sprea d out, though that does not suggest that the participant points were more accurate compared to the actual location of the city being mapped. Smal ler ellipses

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34 suggest that the group data for each city became more condensed or consistent, and perhaps that students began to recognize the Yangtze River for example, or other features on the map as landmarks to guide their mapping. Participants may have become familiar with the provinces traveled through as well, using those as a guide to mapping their points The change in ellipses suggests that Sustainability along the Yangtze had an impact on unt of change between pre test maps and post test maps was Lushan. This may be because Lushan is not an actual city, but a National Park containing several towns and cultural sites. It was set back from the Yangtze River, unlike other cities visited that are situated on the banks of the Yangtze River. This may hav e contributed to confusion on where to map the location in both the pre and post tests. Still, the deviational ellipse for Lushan showed decreased dispersion along with all other mapped locations. The test for standard deviational ellipses is a strong too l to analyze improvement, and it suggests that the participant group has an improved spatial understanding of the Yangtze River valley even with the absence of maps used through much of the program. An analysis of displacement aided in understanding how knowledge changed after traveling through China. There was a decrease in displacement between the mapped points and the actual city center location with every city except Lushan. As noted above Lushan seemed to be difficult for part icipants to map due to its large size and its distance from the Yangtze River. The greatest decrease in displacement was shown in mapped points for Shanghai and Nanjing (approximately 85km and 73km respectively.) These cities sit near the Yangtze River and participants may have found it easier to map cities where the coastline could aid in orienting them.

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35 Likert survey Participants reported gaining meaningful changes in their perceptions of China based on results of the Likert survey analysis. Pa rticipants indicated an average increase in familiarity with the cities visited, the roles religion plays in China, cultural customs in China, and types of housing structures in China by at least one full point The average response for whe ther participant s had a favorable v iew of China increased by 0 42 from 4.25 to 4.67. One participant noted in the survey that they feel less informed about China after visiting the country due to having experienced the complexity of the history and culture. This can be regarded as an extremely perhaps reflective of the classic idea that t he only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing T ravel to new places may shed light on how little a student knows about the host country. Rather than viewing the country in simplistic terms constructed limited knowledge and worldviews, a goal is to help the student s grow to understand that end the complexities of the host country without significantly more work and experience with it Cognitive Maps Cognitive maps are formed by participants through dir ect action with an environment, which vary between individuals (Downs and Stea, 1973) and may provide an insightful method for exploring changes in student perspectives after a study abroad experience. the sense of place in each of the three cities used for the activity. Participants formed their own perceptions of each of the three locations mapped, and these perceptions can be discerned through study of their drawings.

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36 As a megacity and the first place studen ts visited in China, including a map of Aside from one small scale map of solely the land mass and river near the Shanghai Province p featured buildings and roads. Many featured specific stores of Shanghai are generally anthropocentric, with little eleme nts aside from the Yangtze or Huangpu Rivers. This is not to say that students did not interact with parks p arks and quiet spaces are plentiful in Shanghai, and students visited several of these parks during their stay in Shanghai, as well as the banks of the Yangtze River. These places are not associated with Shanghai according to student drawings, however Perceptions of Lushan are justifiably vastly different than Shanghai. Lushan, situated on a mountain, is cooler than Shanghai and other large Chines e cities in the summer months and is densely vegetated in most areas. While students frequently visit ed the shops and restaurants in Guling, only five maps included any mention of these stores. All of the maps featured cultural landmarks such as White Deer trees. Students seem to view Lushan as a place where nature is much more easily accessed than in Shanghai. While maps of Lushan and Shanghai had similar themes, there was great variety in how participants depicted them This is not the case for maps of Yichang, where eleven of the twelve maps featured Three Gorges Dam. In addition to the maps primarily featuring the dam many of the maps were drawn from an oblique view rather than aerial perspective

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37 maps F or most participants, Three Gorges Dam is a central part of Yichang and the most impactful feature from visiting the area When asked why they chose an oblique angle for their maps of Yichang, students were largely unable to articulate an answer. One participant noted that he did not feel he could add detail at a level he wanted to without drawing and oblique view of the dam. Pa suggest that place making having took place during the short term program which included only days long visits to each city. These maps suggest that connections can be formed and perceptions about host cities changed over this s hort period of time. Most of the students enrolled in Sustainability along the Yangtze had only abstract ideas about what each city in the syllabus represented and how it was connected to the rest of China and Chinese people. Once value is assigned to a ge ographic location through experience, it becomes a place (Tuan, 1977). Each of the cities was transformed from space to place in some way for participants of the program. Implications for Study Abroad Programs The results of this research may provide instructors with insight to ways to improve curricula for future study abroad programs. During interviews, many students indicated that they felt geographically disoriented se of maps While phones with GPS enabled maps are now commonplace most students enrolled in the program turned their phones off for part or all of the program due to the high expense of using their mobile device in another country. For this reason, acco rding to one student, the map feature on their phone was useless for navigating through each city. If geographic such spatial elements are incorporated to foster this knowledg e.

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38 In interviews and surveys, participants described China as complex, but their cognitive maps did not reflect such complexit y Instead, the maps for each city have common themes that seem to fit each location into a box that separates it from the other locations This may indicate that while the course succeeded in diverse than thei r prior experiences led them to believe, it failed to deliver a diverse set of experiences within each city. The extent to which this was a detriment to the experience was not the focus of this research and cannot be discerned from the data collected. If s tudy abroad instructors aim to highlight the complexities of host countries and cities within them in a way that is impactful to students, care should be taken to spend equal time on different endeavors. If instructors wish to impress the complexity of a location upon students in a lasting way, curricula must be designed to highlight and emphasize that complexit y A persistent practical question in this research was whether the amount of free time given to students was an asset or a detriment to learning. observations, programs with instructors that provide students ample free time to explore the host country on their own or in small groups may actually prevent connection with those environments as students may seek out th e familiar stay in their hotel where it feels safer or Not allowing enough free time, one the other hand, may push students to feel burned out producing a disconnect ion from the lectures and course material. For short term study abroad programs, it is important that students are able to gain as much from experience as possible in a limited time period Instructors should take care to meet with cohorts prior to departure for the host country to discus s expectations They should also seek to build a curriculum that incorporates a balance of instruction time with a safe way to become familiar with the destination, followed by a limited amount of free time

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39 that will allow place making to occur on a more meaningful level according to each transparent about the amount of free time provided to students to avoid disappointment and a tourist mindset. Instructors should a lso take into consideration the prior experiences of students enrolling in their short term study abroad programs. Students who have never left the ir home country experience new place s very differently from student s who ha ve experience travel ing abroad In terviews are often conducted to select students for study abroad programs, and care should be taken to note the travel history of participants. Students with little travel experience may need supplemental materials to aid them in preparing for the likeliho od of culture shock, homesickness, and the rigor of travel itself. Limitations As with any study, there were research challenges and limits to the meaning that can be derived from it. Short term study abroad programs often maintain low enrollment numbers to accommodate frequent movement within the host country, and t he group studied included only twelve participants. A larger participant group may have been more effective at providing robust data for analysis. Richer and more robust data could be c ollected through study of several groups of students enrolled in multiple, concurrent study abroad courses. Study of consecutive groups of students participating in the same program over the course of several semesters or years would also provide a greater amount of data to analyze although individual and cohort differences would have to be taken into consideration. In addition to the small cohort studied, the lack of a control group limits the ability of the study to measure the growth or transformative learning that took place during the

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40 program. Students in a traditional classroom in a course on China for a standard semester may show similar educational gains as students who study abroad. Students in traditional classroom s however, are not likely to exhibit growth in understanding that requires experience in China, such as whether it would be easy to find people that speak English. Comparing traditional students to study abroad students would provide valuable insight to the specific ways in which travel study programs impact learning compared to traditional classroom based courses covering similar material. Study abroad programs provide unique challenges to research. Participants are placed in stressful situations for man y reasons. One group of students may experience educational gains that outpace others in the same program due to the cohesiveness of the group, individual personalities, willingness to embrace travel stress, and whether a student has any of the transformat ive learning inhibitors (e.g., powerlessness, emotional disconnect, or vacation mindset) that can alter the results of a study of student outcomes. As with any research that relies on human subjects, the unpredictability and variability of human interactio ns and experiences complicates study. A further complication to this research was my position both as researcher observer and a student enrolled in the course Neither of these lenses could be removed completely, and so participation in the study abroad p rogram was clouded by being a n observer of the students and vice versa. This dual role may or may not have altered the ways participants in the research answered interview questions and/or drew cognitive maps The ways students answered survey and inter view questions may have been influenced by a familiarity with the researcher or viewing the researcher as a peer.

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41 Future research While this research adds to the body of knowledge about the impacts of short term study abroad programs on spatial and cultural perceptions among students, it also raises questions and suggestions for future research. This work can prompt instructors to be cognizant of the use of maps to aid students in spatial orientation within their host country. throughout the course may be worth examining Sustainability along the Yangtze was heavily focused on social structures and historical context through in situ lectures. Would incorporating lectures and experiences that highlighted cultural practices lead to greater changes in student familiarity and comfort with China? For ex ample, t ai chi was a prevalent component in the landscape, with adults practicing in open parks in every city all times of the day. The historic and religious contexts of these practices were not mentioned. For the leading instructors, it is likely these s ights have become mundane or unsurprising, causing the instructors to overlook describing the background for students. A similar study with a future cohort of Sustainability along the Yangtze taking these items into account would yield important informat ion on how effective course structure is to overall student learning in these short term programs. Short term study abroad programs suffer from lack of quantitative research. For the field of geography, it is imperative that further efforts to focus research on spatial and cultural gains take place. This could improve our understanding of place making, spatial reasoning, and how short term programs improve these or can become a detriment to them.

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42 CHAPTER V CONCLUSION Short term study abroad programs continue to rise in popularity due to their affordability and easier to manage time commitments co mpared to longer counterparts. P rograms lasting only a few weeks give more students the chance to immerse themselves in a country unlike their own through an intensive learning experience meant to impact and transform. In the context of a geography departm ent, how can gains be measured to ensure gains are taking place in ways that justify the continued offering of these short term programs? S through the use of a breadth of instruments from which c onclusions about the overall impact of a program can be drawn This study used a combination of mapping exercises, cognitive maps, surveys, and Sustainability along the Yangtze While the instruments are analyzed individually, they serve to complement one another to provide a clearer understanding of the impacts of the program. Sustainability along the Yangtze impacted students in numerous ways. Despite the were less dispersed after traveling through China. Demonstrable s patial knowledge was gained through the travel experi ence itself, even though most students indicated that they did not believe their spatial knowledge had improved. Perceptions of China changed, as shown through surveys and interviews. Participants stated that their pre conceived ideas about China construc ted from their exposure to media and college courses, were very different

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43 from what they learned it to be like Surveys showed an overall improved knowledge about China and positive feelings toward China. Programs lasting only a few weeks can impact stude improved through direct engagement with the people and places they visit. This direct engagement can improve spatial understanding of the host country, and aid in place making associations with each city that would have been hard to achieve through traditional classroom based courses. While short term programs may not always provide students with a transformative learning experience, instructors can design their courses and prepare students in ways to encourage such transformation. Awareness of student backgrounds and clear course goals may enable instr uctors to create courses that are as impactful as possible, and the tools used in this research can aid instructors in assessing what, if any, gains were achieved

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44 REFERENCES Cresswell, T. (2015). Place: An Introduction Second Edition. West Sussex, UK. John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Dolby, N. (2004). Encountering an American self: Study abroad and national identity. Comparative Education Review 48(2), 150 173. Donelly Smith, L. (2009). Global learning through short term study abroad. Peer Review 11(4), 12 15. Downs R.M., & Stea, D. (1973). Cognitive maps and spatial behavior: Process and products. Image and Environment 8 26. Du, H. (2013). The Development of Chinese Fluency During Study Abroad in China. The Modern Language Journal 97(1), 131 143. Dwyer, M. (2004). More is better: the impact of short term study abroad program duration. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad 10, 151 164. Falk, J.H. & Dierkling, L.D. (1997). School field trips: Assessing their long term impact. Curator: The museum journal 40 (3), 211 218. feelings, and experiences of studying abroad in a low income country. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship, 9 (1), 1 16. Foucault, M. (1976). The Birth of the Clinic London, Englan d. Tavistock Publications Ltd. Hoff, J. (2008). Growth and transformation outcomes in international education. Developing Intercultural Competence and Transformation: Theory, research, and application in international education. 53 73. Ingram, M. (2005). Recasting the foreign language requirement through study abroad: A cultural immersion program in avignon. Foreign Langua ge Annals 38(2), 211 222. Ishikawa, T. & Montello, D.R. (2006). Spatial knowledge acquisition from direct experience in the environment: Individual differences in the development of metric knowledge and the integration of separately learned places. Cog nit ive Psychology 52 (2), 93 129. Kochanek, L. (1998). Study abroad celebrates 75 th anniversary. UD Messenger 7 (2), archived from original. Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: experience as the source of learning and development Englew ood Cli ffs, NJ. Prentice Hall.

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45 Lewin, R. (2009). Introduction: The quest for global citizenship through study abroad. The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad New York, NY. Routledge. Lumkes, J.H., Jr., Hallett, S., & Vallade L. (2011). Hearing versus experiencing: The impact of a short term study abroad experience in China on students perceptions regarding globalization and cultural awareness. International Journal of Intercultural Relations 36 (2012), 151 159. McKeown, J.S. (2009) The First Time Effect: The impact of study abroad on college student intellectual development. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Mezirow, J. (1991). Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning San Francisco, CA. Jossey Bass Inc. Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative Learning: Theory to practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education. 1997 (74), 5 12. Mondschein, A., Blumenberg, E., & Taylor, B.D. (2013). Going Mental: Everyday travel and the cognitive map. Access 43, 2 7. National Association of International Educators. (2005 ). Global competence and national needs Washington, DC: Hudzik, J. and Blumenth al, P. National Association of International Educators. (2002). The guide to successful short term programs abroad. Was hington, DC: Spencer, S.E. & Tuma, K. Office of International Affairs. (2016). Study abroad data. University of Colorado Denver. Page B. & Wee, B. (May 2017). Sustainability along the Yangtze [Syllabus]. Location: Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences. Univer sity of Colorado Denver Ritz, A.A. (2011). The educational value of short term study abroad programs as course components. Journal of Teaching in Travel & Tourism 11 (2), 164 178. Schattle, H. (2009). Global citizenship in theory and practice. The Handbook of Practice and Research in Study Abroad New York, NY. Routledge. Stone, G.A (2017). Measurement of transformative learning in study abroad: An application of the learning activities survey. Journal of Hospitality, Lei sure, Sport & Tourism Education 21 (A), 23 32. Tuan, Y. (1977). Space and Place. Minneapolis, MN. University of Minnesota Press.

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46 APPENDIX A Map Template

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47 APPENDIX B Interviews of Participants Interview of Participant #1 Researcher: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? Participant 1: Overall I think it was a good experience. I learned a lot of things. It was different being in a Chinese environment. I think I learned a lot being able to see thin gs in person and connecting that to things I learned in class. R: What were you most surprised to learn about China? P1: I think I was surprised about how similar it is to here. I think the media portrays China in a negative way, so to go there and I m ean in all aspects, the people, cities, consumerism even I think it was very similar to here. It was interesting to see that side of it. R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? P1: Pertaining to the pro everything was pretty smooth sailing. I think it was hard being immersed in a completely different environment s the hardest part about it. Otherwise, in terms of the class itself it was pretty alright. R: What about moments or aspects that were easier? P1: I think for me it was easiest to have kind of an open mind about things, just because I was aware that we we re in a completely different place. I think that was one of the easiest parts. R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people? P1: I think I would describe it in more of a positive way. Again, a lot of p eople only hear about what the news R: Does that differ from the China you thought you would see before going? P1: Yes. R: How have your pe rceptions of the United States changed? Have they changed? similarities, but there are a lot of differences in stark cultural ways. No, like, view has c thankful to have been able to have been born here. R: Have your perceptions of just Denver changed at all? P1: It seems smaller to me, definitely. Yeah, it seems smaller and more cozy and personable. R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them? P1: Yes and no. I think I have more of a mental picture of it better than not knowing having traveled there, but

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48 R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? P1: Yeah, I think so. It was an overall a good experience so I would do something like that again. R: What would drive you to attend another? P1: I think it would definitely have to be I think location is important, of course, but also what it is pertaining to. Kind of what we would be studying or looking at, it would have to be of real interest to me to want to go. R: In two or three sentenc es, can you sum up your overall experience with this program? P1: Overall it was a good experience. I was able to try new things and step outside of my comfort zone and it was a lot of fun. Interview of Participant #2 Researcher: Can you tell me about you r overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? Participant 2: Overall it was a really good experience. I feel like I learned a lot about China as a country, and then also as a culture. I learned Mandarin a little bit. I learned a lot more abou t the cities we visited because I before the program, so I learned a lot. R: What were you most surprised to learn about China? P2: I kind of had a have a real sense of what that meant in terms of how they would go about showing us things, and how they would talk about things, about their own country. So that kind of surprised me a little bit. R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? P2: I mean, kind of from a personal standpoint, I was sick for a good chunk of the trip so it was physically demanding in the se nse that we did a lot of walking every day. So, that was more of a personal thing, that that was the most difficult part of the trip for me, was navigating the first week and a half while I was really sick. R: Was there anything culturally that was diffic ult? P2: It took some getting use to in a sense that the food and things like that were so different than what I was used to. So, there were definitely some cultural aspects that were different. I had a hard time finding things that were easy to eat in ter ms of things I could eat, and things I enjoyed. And getting use to the overcrowding and population was difficult. R: What about moments or aspects that were easier? P2: Just the fact that we were taken around and able to see so many things in such a short period of time. So, actually getting around in China and getting to see so much of the country, I felt like that went pretty easy. We R: Ha ving gone on this trip now, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people? thing you would have to experience for yourself as

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49 s such a great experience. I would definitely tell other people that they need to experience it for themselves, but that they would have a very positive experience and that it would change their outlook on China I feel like in the US our media really does not paint China in the best light and we see this country that is super polluted and has problems with poverty and constantly, like, I guess is not democratic enough by American standards. So, I feel like if people were to actually go and see what China is like for people, they would have a different view. R: Is your view on China, or how you would describe China to other people, different from what you thought you would experience? P2: Yes, in a very positive way. I thought, I knew the media kind of was h yperbolic in that sense, but I did think that it was going to be so dirty and so crowded and so I don know. I thought there would be more difficulties than there were in terms of the environment and things like that, but the people were much friendlier t han I expected and that was a pleasant surprise. R: Has it changed your views or perceptions of the United States? P2: A little bit, yeah. Mostly kind of in the aspect of, like, personal safety. I felt like China was much much safer than the US in terms o f being able to go out and walk around. Even not knowing the language I felt a lot about, and the fact that we live in such a violent society and that we have to walk around and take precautions, especially as women, we have to take precautions and we have to always be wary about things. Wh ereas in lot of attention to myself or disturbing other people I felt like I could walk around safely at night by myself. R: Switching gear s, do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them? P2: Yes, I think it did because when I first sat down and did the activity I had no idea where anything was at all. nt them out, but I think I could point out in general where think I have a better sense where they are geographically for sure. R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? experience and I learned so much more beyond just academic content and I feel like those experiences are abroad program. R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program? P2: Well, overall it was a really good experience. The instructors were absolutely fantastic and I just wanted them to talk to me all day every day because they were both so knowledgeable, and they both brought different pieces of insight into what we were seeing and experiencing. I learned a lot and I overcame a lot of cultural hang ups. I was worried people would be less friendly than they actually were, my experience with the Chinese people was all very positive overall. People are very kind, they like A mericans. We got to see things that a lot of

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50 Interview of Partipant #4 Researcher: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? Participan t #4: It was a pretty nice experience because I got to experience a completely different culture, and R: During your experience, what were you most surprised to learn about China? expect them to be so, um, clean when it comes to, like, making the grass look pretty or watering different pl aces. I thought that was an eye opener. R: In your experience, were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? P4: I guess the fact that people were being so strange when it comes to them not being able to adapt to t he environment we were in. R: The other participants? all in, but everybody else like their actions and everything it made it feel lik R: What about things that were easier than others? grumpy or something it was so easy kidnap you or anything so I can just go and enjoy the scenery and the people. R: did you feel like Chin P4: I think so. R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people? kind of true, but you still have to go out about the people and the culture, and those different things. R: If somebody said [name redacted], what is China like, what would you say? oriented place because of how many people there are, but also the fact that they seem to be very kind people as well. I guess, just because how the government is and everything, they have that nature and welcoming yeah.. R: How did that differ from what you thought you would experience? R: After going to China, have your perceptions about the United States changed?

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51 P4: I think so, because when I think about how our gym is being built over here, I feel like if we had Chinese very goal oriented in a sense, because over in China they have so much infrastructure th short amount of time, and here we have so many things that take so long to be done. So, I feel like China is more goal oriented in what they want to do and that makes them have things that they want done go in a fast pace. Like, e nvironmental wise, I feel like if they change their mindset their air could be cleaner in maybe a year or two. And us, we could be just on the same track forever. R: Do you think that your ability to map the cities visited improved after traveling through them? oriented with where I am, so I was more focused on sightseeing where I am. I feel like if I was more oriented on where I am I would focus more o n the maps and where I am. R: Do you think if the instructors that led the programs incorporated maps into the actual syllabus or the curriculum, that you would have a better understanding of where these places are located on a map? Do you think that would matter? look at it more and daily while R: Do you think you would attend another study abroad if you had the opportunity? P4: I think so. R: Why? tourist. You actually have people with you that you can trust. So I feel like going on an experience like that with people you know makes it a lot more worthwhile. R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this particular program? P 4: I guess this experience was very eye opening. I got to see how different governments and people think, how they see the world, and how their views are so I could come back here to the US and see what issues we have here, but there are other countries that have values that we can implement so we can possibly better ourselves. We could take something from them and implement it here so we could better ourselves. Interview of Participant #5 R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? P5: I had a really great time. I learned a lot. I experienced a totally new culture and, like, a huge culture shock I guess. Their way of life is completely different from ours, and their infrastruc ture is completely different and R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?

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52 P12: I honestly want to say how happy and almost normal ever of freedom of choice in a lot of ways, and just how different everything is. Even down to the fo R: Were there any moments or aspec ts of the program that were more difficult than others? hot and I hated that. I was sweaty the whole time I was there. And some of the hotel ro oms not being up to our standards was hard to deal with sometimes. Oh, and the food. I usually found I dish I like, but a lot of it was a little weird for me and I was sick of it by the end. R: What about moments or aspects that were easier than others? P was really comfortable with it the whole time so I like that a lot. R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experien ced to other people? how different it is but also I would probably try to downplay a lot of the stereotypes I would assume they would have base d on them being American. R: How does that differ from the China you thought you would see? worried about things. I think that was a big strik ing thing for me. R: Did you imagine that you would see people a little more discontent? P12: Yeah, I think so. I thought it would be a little more drab, like everyone just going about their days but that was interesting to me. R: Have your perceptions of the United States changed? recognizin R: Have your perceptions about Denver or Colorado changed? sit. That definitely shifted. R: Do you think your ability to map the cities that we visited improved after traveling through them? city i n terms of that. R: Do you think we should have had, within the curriculum or the program itself, more physical maps for students to look at? Do you think that would help?

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53 P12: Yeah, I think it would./ think that would have been great. R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? Why or why not? P12: Yes, to broaden my horizons and exper ience other cultures and to learn. I love to learn things. R: In two or three sentences, can you sum up your overall experience with this program? P12: It changed the way I think about the world. It gave me so many new ideas and experiences for how things can function better. It made everything a lot more gray instead of black and white. Interview of Participant #7 R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? P7: I got deeper understanding about our own culture a nd from your perspective and it give me different opinions about how you view modern China. I feel more proud of my country. re learned? P7: Starti Nanjing, the Purple Mountain, it contains many cultural relics. We learned about them in history books, but I feel they are very far away from me at the time much when I see them and I realize they are important. R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? P7: Maybe just the discussion part. R: The discussions? P7: Yeah. R: Was that because it was a different perspective? ing and I lost my logic when there are people around. R: Was there anything that felt easy for you? P7: Travel around, those transportation thing, because I lived there before and I so got use to it. The weather, new places, I just know how to deal with i t. would you describe China? bad, but it improve. Even in Shanghai, there are some part of c ity some people still live in undeveloped conditions, but

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54 they enjoy their life there. Now they invented many convenient methods for living, like the payment method they use WeChat for everything, even the street food and those bikes they have everywhe re. They have their politics or something, they just live their life there. Their education level improved, but there still illiteracy in the und eveloped cities, When we visit the village in Wuhan I noticed the internet is already to those village areas, which is not usual like five years ago. Now it reaches those areas, I think it is progress. They are making progress, but there are still improvem ents. R: The way you just described China, has that changed from before you went on this program? Did your idea of what China is like change because of this program, or do you feel the same? forts in those remote areas. Like, they a live their life. We talked about so much politics during the trip with other classmates, but we never talk about that in China actually. R: Did the trip change your perceptions of the United States, or Denver? P7: Not much. R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved or not? or not. I could say after you said we would make a map during the trip after the first city, maybe I would pay more attention to remember how the city organized. R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? be a little danger, but it also excite me and I think it would be very interesting. P7: Yes, yeah. Interview of Participant #9 R: Can you tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze? not knowing what I was getting into, and I feel like I had this amazing experience. I learned things about geography and sustainability that I n ever thought I would have, and I made friends and learned about culture. the differences between their culture and our culture, and help teach stude nts learn about the richness of their culture, too. R: What were you most surprised to learn about China?

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55 P9: I think one of the things I was most surprised to learn was just the scale and density of the pollution. I knew ink I realized how bad it was: in the air, in the water, at the farms, all the trash st one of the things that I was just surprised about, and then learning how the pollution impacts the people and the agriculture and just everything there. R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? P9: Some of the geography concepts were hard, or trying to understand what was being talked about like with GIS, until Daniella explained it to me. At the college e I was really confused about some of the things that were being talked about. And even just in the M something that was really hard for me, just keeping up with you guys on the geography concepts. But, I got there! I ask a lot of questions and I got there! R: What about moments or asp ects that were easier? P9: I guess just like, I would say learning about and just immersing myself in the culture of it, and learning 12 mi llion people. Just learning about daily lives and culture of them was the easiest part to learn about while I was there. R: Having gone on this trip now, how would you describe the China you experienced to other people? different than what we expect. I think when people think of China they think of the people in weird cone hats in are every major city in the United States combine into one. And it has these huge populations to that extreme of people planting rice and people living off the ust amazing. I R: Have your perceptions of the Unit ed States changed? P9: I would say yes. Perceptions on, like, I guess pollution. You here people from L.A. talk about how polluted things are, and just the realization of things here that we complain about being bad can be a whole lot worse, and they are worse in other parts of the world. It just makes me grateful. I know one of the things we talked public transportation and how I wish that could be implemented here and how that would make life easier for us n. R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved after traveling through them? P9: I think it did. I think the first map I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, and that came from the fact that I had no background in it. As I got to experienc e the places and see where they were and hone in on that because I went from knowing nothing to knowing, what I would say, something! R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose?

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56 on a trip in the middle of it than you do in a class. I think I could have learned about the same things, like the Nanjing massacre or the White Deer Academy, I could have looked at pictures and read about it in a book. But, I would not have learned as much as I did being in those spaces and feeling the way I did and observing people in teracting with the environments. I would not have learned half of what I did being there. R: Can you sum up your experience with this program in two or three sentences? P9: By putting myself out of my comfort zone, I learned more that is applicable to my career as a teacher than I ever thought I would. Interview of Participant #12 R: Tell me about your overall experience with Sustainability along the Yangtze. P12: I think overall it was a really good experience. It was my first time out of the country. It was my first time really traveling without any supervision of people I knew. So it was really just a huge test and challenge I guess of my own independence and knowledge and willingness to jump into stuff. I was so close to chickening out and not going be cause I knew it was going to be my first time overseas and I was freaking out. IO was already feel scared anymore. I was, like, this is hap R: What were you most surprised to learn about China? P12: Just how, just the space in r elation to how large the cities were, how many people were in them, how the pletely different to conceptualize it and realize it in country. R: Were there any moments or aspects of the program that were more difficult than others? activity and that was really one of the hardest things for me. I think I heard from other students that just the s hard to sit in one place for a long R: So, constantly moving, do you mean changing cities? P12: Yeah, changing cities and changing surroundings, like walking through the cities. Like, even sometimes we would walk to a location and sit there and lecture, it was interesting, but I would still get really fidgety. Even though I was getting tired of the walking I wanted to keep moving. R: Would you say that constant movement was something that was easier for you, or is there another aspect of the program that was easier than others for you? P12: I think relative to what I heard from other students, the constant hopping around from city to city and location to location was one of the easier aspects for me. Yeah, I would say that was the easiest aspect for me. R: Having now gone on this trip, how would you describe the China you experienced to other p eople?

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57 kind of corny, but I feel speechless just because there was so many experiences and so many things I learned and so many things we saw tha of people I know would expect, because we get fed so much bias in the media that everyone has their preconceived notions about what this place is gonna be and what this and hear. Not that I just able to experience it as it was and I feel like I can come back and try to paint this picture of what it was li ke people are expecting to hear. R: Have your perceptions of the United States changed? P12: Yeah. The safety thing sucks coming back, and th particular,, about how being a female in China it was really comfortable and really safe in general. Not that it system is. I remember when I moved to Denver from Fort Collins and they have just very very minimal public from the trip and I just remember trying to fight back tears because I did not want to come back home. I felt like Eve rything was new and exciting, and I remember having a conversation in China about you could spend years here exploring cities and still touch only a small percentage of China. To me that seems unfathomable. I feel R: Do you think your ability to map the cities improved or not? P12: Not at all, or a little bit. I de finitely had a better understanding of where they were in relation to other things. But just giving me a blank map of just the country with nothing to reference, it was a mess. I would not t been to China or looked at a map, but I think p and I just R: Do you think it would help you if ma ps were utilized during the program? Would that help you orient yourself and remember these places? P12: I think so. It seems kind of obvious, and a little childish, but I think it would be helpful to reference maps throughout the program. Even, we can sti ll grow up in areas in America, there are a lot of people who grow up able to tell you where their state is or where their city is I think being able to go through these spaces and showing us where it is in relations to these natural features and these provinces and these areas and the world as gh the city, but

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58 other things. So, short answer: yes. R: Would you attend another study abroad program if the opportunity arose? P12: Total of jealous and I feel like I need to try to catch up to him. He really R: In two or three sentences, c an you sum up your overall experience with this program? P12: My experience in China left me speechless and in awe. It made leaving China and coming back home nearly impossible, and I think it made me grow a deeper appreciation for how I occupy spaces and how sometimes not everyone might have t hat choice.

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59 APPENDIX C Internal Review Board Documents

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