Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Existing literature reveals a gap in research on high school students of color studying abroad. Therefore, this study seeks to provide an understanding and explanation of how international educational travel experiences and global education impact the educational outlook of urban high school girls of color. This study proposes that a positive educational outlook including a student's academic engagement, educational aspirations, motivation, perception of the world, and self-efficacy can later generate school persistence and predict high school completion despite the increasing rates of minority female dropouts and the potential effects of race, class, and gender.

Through a qualitative case study and thematic analysis, this study focuses on eight urban girls of color enrolled in the Global Kids Program in Washington, D.C., which is a program dedicated to global education and youth development. Background surveys, interviews, and document analysis were used to explore this topic.

The findings of the study support the hypothesis, which suggests that although study abroad is a common positive experience for college students as well as upper middle class and wealthy high school students, urban girls of color may also reap numerous benefits from studying abroad. This study does not provide substantial evidence to support the long-term effects of global education and study abroad on the participants. However, it does suggest positive changes to girls' behaviors, attitudes, and views, including engagement and perceptions of the world, potential impact of the experience, and the value of education. Emergent patterns include bullying, discrimination, exploration, and support in addition to unique experiences of girls from seemingly homogenous racial groups and girls with immigrant backgrounds. Also suggested are various factors necessary to ensure a positive academic outcome for urban girls of color. Overall, this study contributes new knowledge about urban high school students of color studying abroad as well as the role of socioeconomic status and race in shaping students' study abroad experiences. This study also implies the need for joint efforts to increase global education at the secondary level through programs similar to Global Kids.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.