New Research: Study Abroad Fosters “Clearer Sense of Self”

Two points to make: First, this study,, appears in the Harvard Business Review which is not where I’d expect to find research  on this topic; second, the five co-authors tested their hypothesis that “living abroad will increase self concept clarity across six studies involving 1,874 participants.”

I was interested in their finding that participant self-discerning reflections “are a critical ingredient in the relationship between living abroad and self-concept clarity.”

The authors discuss how their findings have practical import for MBA participants in relation to their post-graduation career direction and alignment of their sense of self with how others see them in the workplace.

Their summary:

  • Depth, Not Breadth, of Living Abroad Experiences Matters Most
  • A Clearer Sense of Self Leads to More Congruent Feedback, and…
  • Clearer Career Direction

I like the linkage between the development of sense of self and increased capacity to discern and navigate one’s career direction and preferences after graduation. It’s not easy for any student, grad or undergrad, business or history major – and so, as I’ve been advocating, deeper preparation, purposeful design, structured reflection, and longer time abroad, all combine to strengthen a students’ ability to make meaning of and maximize the impact of living and studying abroad.


One Comment on “New Research: Study Abroad Fosters “Clearer Sense of Self”

  1. Thank you, Martin, for relaying this article (back in May). Here we are a better part of a year later and it’s exactly what I needed to read. I’ll be following your blog with great interest.

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