School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision (PhD)


Mary Deacon


Multicultural competency, study abroad, service-learning, counselor education




Though there has been extensive research into the benefits of using international cultural immersion experiences to enhance the development of multicultural competence of counselors in training, limited research has been conducted to specifically examine the effect of the service- learning component of a study abroad trip on students’ multicultural and social justice competencies. Given that social justice advocacy is an integral aspect of multicultural competence, it is important to understand how students assimilate the social justice advocacy experiences gained during their service-learning trip once they return home. To this end, a qualitative thematic analysis design was used to identify themes related to master’s-level counseling students’ experiences in-country and their return home from a 4-week study abroad cultural immersion trip. Interviews were conducted to answer the research question, which led to four sets of themes: in-country experiences, reentry experiences, multicultural and social justice competency, and impact over time. The emergent themes were consistent with previous research. The implications of these themes in the use of service-learning experiences on the training of counselors and recommendations for future research include the impact of in country experiences, impact of reentry, impact on multicultural and social justice competence, and impact over time.

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