International Awareness And Intercultural Competence

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Background Global awareness and intercultural competence are some of the hottest buzz words in higher education right now. With the U.S. population becoming more diverse, and our economy increasingly interlinked with economic issues globally, government, business, and society at large are looking more and more to higher education to create the human capital necessary to continue U.S. preeminence around the globe (Duncan, 2011). The method of choice in higher education for teaching these competencies is through travel as a form of exposure to “the world”. This educational archetype is generally termed “study abroad”. The majority of existing research around learning through travel centers on the undergraduate study abroad experience (Lewin, 2009; VandeBerg, Paige, Lou, 2012). This is because study abroad is generally an undergraduate phenomena, and is much rarer at the graduate level. Graduate business education, particularly within MBA programs, is an exception. The proliferation of travel programs within in MBA programs, with the goal of teaching students the skills needed to be successful working in the global marketplace, can be directly linked to close relationship between Business Schools and multinational corporations. The connection between higher education and the market place is not new, as Rhoades and Slaughter (1994) vividly described in their 1993-1994 review of how higher education in the U.S. has shifted away from “the public good” and toward tight cooperation

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