Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, John

Abstract

As of Spring 2013, this is the first research study of its type which has looked at and analyzed the results of qualitative interviews conducted with Kurdish Iraqi students studying abroad in the government's, Mhe-HCDP, foreign study abroad program. The study looks at student's actual experiences and perceptions about the program, as well as their recommendations for improving the program. The study also looked at the overall goals and acknowledged problems within the program as established by the Iraqi Mhe reports of 2010 and 2011. The study found a considerable amount of agreement between problems identified by the Mhe and problems recognized by the students in the program. Moreover, the research surveyed a considerable amount of literature in the field of study abroad programs which correlate directly too many of the problems identified by both the Mhe and the students. Several of the problems identified in this research pertain to the need for more ESL programs, more "pre-departure" orientation programs, more coordination between Iraqi universities and host universities, more cultural training, more emphasis on pedagogical structures related to critical thinking, reading, and writing, as well as the need for more education in the area of conducting advanced, post-secondary, research in western institutions and more programmatic support at host universities. The study presents the results of 25 qualitative interviews with students, 3 interviews with program administrators, and one interview with a former minister of the Mhe and lists the recommendations and observations all of them have about the existing study abroad program.

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