The Value and Impact of a Brief Study Abroad Experience on Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Counseling Students’ Learning

Michael Brooks, Jeff D. Wolfgang, Shirlene Smith, Yasmin Gay, Yvonne Ward


This was an exploratory study that sought to understand the experiences and benefits of counseling graduate students from a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). These doctoral and master’s students engaged in a brief study abroad experience centered on learning about the historical aspects of counseling in two European locations (Vienna, Austria and London, England). The qualitative methodology used in this study was the naturalist inquiry method, which emphasizes the importance of here-and-now experiences, critical reflections, and dialogues. With a sample size of eight, these tools allowed for a humanistic portrayal while being flexible enough for a creative synthesis in terms of understanding the process as the data portrayed it. Despite the limitations of having a pre-set program type, limited financial resources, and limited sample: this study discovered four themes in the experiences of the counseling students: (1) Self-fulfillment (believing in my own ability to grow), (2) Engaging in painless deep learning, (3) Values and impact, and (4) Study abroad is a “Big Deal”.

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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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