Cross-cultural exchange: How students can frustrate the aims of study abroad programmes


Readily accepting that study abroad programmes may have as many differing forms and aims as there are participating institutions, and that by no means all programmes include academic content in their goals, I would nevertheless maintain:

  1. 1.

    that a sociological perspective is as necessary as the hitherto predominantly psychological approach in obtaining a balanced assessment of study abroad programmes;

  2. 2.

    that a social interactionist approach, including in its evaluation the effect of the exchange programme on the host institution — students, staff and administrators alike, may yield very different results from the psychological approach — and may perhaps question the criteria of psychological assessment;

  3. 3.

    that in relatively short-term programmes with emphasis on academic as well as cultural goals, visiting students can bring about changes in the host institution and its course provision because of the mismatch between the organisation of degree programmes on each side of the Atlantic;

  4. 4.

    that the effectiveness of such study abroad programmes is, consequently, heavily dependent on good communications and detailed planning and agreement between the senior administrative staff of participating institutions, and on the clear formulation of the aims and objects of the programmes prior to their taking place; and

  5. 5.

    that although improved planning may reduce the problems of administering an exchange programme, preoccupation with certification requirements on the part of students may still result in their rejection of the alternative experiences which the study abroad programmes exist to provide.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


  1. BARNES, L.R. Unpublished M.A. thesis. University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1981.

  2. HULL, W. Frank, IV, and LEMKE, W.H. ‘The assessment of off-campus higher education’.International Review of Education. 21(1975), No. 2, pp. 195–206.

    Google Scholar 

  3. HULL, W. Frank, IV. ‘Cross-cultural experiential programming’.International Review of Education. 27(1981), No. 1, pp. 64–75.

    Google Scholar 

  4. KLINEBERG, O.International Educational Exchange: An Assessment of its Nature and its Prospects. Paris: Mouton, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  5. KLINEBERG, O. and HULL, W. Frank, IV.At a Foreign University: An International Study of Adaptation and Coping. New York: Praeger, 1979.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Barnes, L.R. Cross-cultural exchange: How students can frustrate the aims of study abroad programmes. Int Rev Educ 28, 373–376 (1982).

Download citation


  • Good Communication
  • Degree Programme
  • Exchange Programme
  • Psychological Assessment
  • Administrative Staff