Study Abroad and Moral Development
Why should students study abroad? The standard answer universities give cites three types of benefit: academic, cultural, and professional. We argue that this answer sells the value of study abroad short. Just as important as any of these benefits is the value study abroad has in promoting moral development. Drawing on key ideas of the seminal developmental psychologists Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg, we make the case that study abroad can facilitate moral development, whether one understands morality in utilitarian, Kantian, or sentimentalist terms. It does so by helping students take the perspective of those who are culturally different, inducing the cognitive disequilibrium that is crucial to growth in moral and empirical knowledge, and expanding the scope of feelings of empathy.
Johnson, Andrew, and Danielle Hathcock. "Study Abroad and Moral Development." eJournal of Public Affairs 3, no. 3 (2014).
eJournal of Public Affairs