Sunday, April 26, 2009

Time Abroad Impacts Student Creativity

International educators have long cited the benefits of study abroad for students who go — intellectual and personal growth, greater sensitivity to cross-cultural values, a sense of world citizenship.

Now we can add a heightened sense of creativity to the list, if a new study from the American Psychological Association holds weight.

The APA report is a compilation of five studies of student groups who spent time at Paris’ Sorbonne, at business school INSEAD with campuses in France and Singapore, and at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Researchers say their studies don’t prove that the study-abroad experience builds creativity per se, but that living abroad and cultural adaptation do result in more creativity among individuals.

From a Reuters story on the APA study:
“This research may have something to say about the increasing impact of globalization on the world, a fact that has been hammered home by the recent financial crisis,” said the study’s lead author, William Maddux, assistant professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD.

“Knowing that experiences abroad are critical for creative output makes study abroad programs and job assignments in other countries that much more important, especially for people and companies that put a premium on creativity and innovation.”
A link to the abstract of the report is here. It’s free to APA members and $11.95 to others.

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