Traveling, living, and learning in a diverse setting: The china study abroad program Academic Article uri icon


  • Common Ground, Cheryl J. Craig, Yali Zou. This study captures what is learned when preservice and practicing teachers and educational leaders participate in travel study abroad programs in diverse settings. Revolving around the China Study Abroad, a program that has existed since 1990 at the University of Houston (a U.S. research-intensive institution), the work discusses the merits of travel study, the importance of cultural competence and the role of experience in travel study abroad programs. Through the use of the narrative inquiry research method, three exemplars are presented that illuminate the freshly forged understandings of the China Study Abroad participants between 2005 and 2012. These narrative exemplars pertain to world traveling, I-It/I-Thou and liminal spaces, concepts borrowed from Lugones (philosophy, women's studies), Buber (theology), and Turner (anthropology) respectively. These storied exemplars capture participants' faceto- face encounters with religion, poverty and the Great Wall of China. These experiences in the cultural therapy vein result in personal growth and provide a unique opportunity for educators' professional development. In sum, the China Study Abroad program transcends borders and boundaries and opens up new ways of understanding cultural phenomena different than one's own thinking and being.

published proceedings

  • International Journal of Diversity in Education

author list (cited authors)

  • Craig, C. J., & Zou, Y.

complete list of authors

  • Craig, CJ||Zou, Y

publication date

  • January 2015