Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David I. Hanuer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Curtis Porter, Ph.D.


Through a qualitative narrative based design, this study aims to explore early study abroad experiences described by 14 to 18 year old, international, female, high school students studying in the United States. Findings indicate an overall positive perception of early study abroad experiences as all participants reported confidence, a sense of accomplishment through lessons learned, personal insight with a sense of inner transformation, and independence. Reported challenges included learning and speaking in L2, homesickness, and being dependent on others. While exploring the use of meaningful literacy instruction in second and foreign language classrooms, promoting student agency, self-exploration, and a contextualized learning experience, this study benefits a wider community of scholars, educators, parents, and students interested in early study abroad programs by focusing on participants' experiences at an earlier age.