Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Ryan Evely Gildersleeve


The purpose of this visual ethnography is to understand how social participation contributes to student learning during a short-term study abroad program. This project has a dual goal of exploring study abroad and exploring social learning. Using participants' photography, this study will examine the social practice of study abroad as well as the ways in which students engage in their study abroad experience. Additionally, this study frames learning and education as a sociocultural activity rather than solely an individual, cognitive process. This visual ethnography utilized three different theoretical approaches--interpretivism, critical theory, and critical postmodernism--to analyze student participation and create different pictures of social learning during a short-term study abroad experience. Findings in chapter three explored how students' engaged in activities that adhered to the normative narrative regarding the espoused learning outcomes a study abroad experience. Chapter four discussed tensions in students participating in the normative narrative regarding study abroad as well as how they do not always orient their behavior towards culture and social learning. Chapter five shows how students consume, commodify, and essentialize their study abroad experiences by engaging in consumeristic, capitalistic practices. Conclusions from this study discuss the activity of study abroad is a capitalistic activity as well as a learning activity that focuses on the consumption of culture. Additionally, social, out-of-classroom learning is not recognized, validated, and/or mediated by faculty. Moreover, when students are not provided a critical framework to examine their study abroad experiences they reify the normative narrative in simplistic ways.


Copyright Owner

Carrie Anne Kortegast



Date Available


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