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At Marquette University, there is a large gap between the number of students who show an interest in studying abroad and those who actually participate in the study abroad process. In order to gauge why this discrepancy occurs, students’ mindsets and perceptions about studying abroad are analyzed in relation to varying degrees of cultural competence. This paper addresses the need for research about cultural competence, ultimately addressing how Marquette students value cultural competence and how this value connects to their decision to study abroad. By recognizing the worldly benefits gained from study abroad experiences, the idea of cultural competence can be built in students’ minds and continually developed throughout their lives. Research is conducted through a mixed-method approach, which consists of interviews, archival data, and auto-ethnographical features. By organizing and analyzing data according to students’ previous knowledge about study abroad, the balance between collaborative efforts by Marquette faculty and the individual actions taken by students is recognized as essential for the development of well-rounded, culturally competent individuals. In a world marked by recent political change, it is important to continually articulate the importance of cultural competence, the importance of students’ discovering their own identities in relation to the larger world around them. Thus, proposals for change are discussed in order to increase participation in Marquette study abroad programs.
College, Culture, Cultural Appreciation, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Competence, Cultural Immersion, Identity, Milieu, Office of International Education (OIE), Outlook, Self-Encounter, Student Mindset, Student Perception(s), Study Abroad, University