Investigating the Careers of Language Study Abroad Alumni

Researchers at Penn State’s Center for Language Acquisition, The Forum on Education Abroad, and the American Councils for International Education collaborated on a large-scale research project to explore the longitudinal effects of language learning and study abroad on career outcomes. The project was funded by the Department of Education’s International Research and Studies grant program.

Project Results and Outputs:

Preview the Quantitative Survey Results:

The careers of language study abroad alumni: Results and applications from a mixed-methods investigation (presentation given at the 2022 Cultures and Language Across the Curriculum (CLAC) Conference, December 2, 2022)

Alumni Profiles:

Antonia Zunarelli, Indiana University alumna, studied abroad in Italy

Courtney Hale, Northern Arizona University alumna, studied abroad in Japan

Amelia Parenteau, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, studied abroad in France

Alex Johnson, University of Minnesota alumnus, studied abroad in the Dominican Republic

Read the book to learn more:

The Professional Lives of Language Study Abroad Alumni Available now!

Project Supporters

We thank the following institutions and organizations for lending their support to participant recruitment for this project:

Penn State University American Councils logo    ISEP logo    George Washington University wordmark   University of Minnesota logo

CEA Study Abroad logo. "CEA (TM) Learn your potential."The University of New Orleans Division of International Education logoNorthwestern wordmark. The word Northwestern is printed in serif font in the school's purple color.IFE logo features IFE in thick, blue, stylized letters in the top left corner with the words INSTITUTE FOR FIELD EDUCATION in thin blue lettering below and to the right.

The Bentley University shield features a clock tower with a branch and a bird overhead. Beside it, the year 1917 (the year of the school's founding) and across the top, the word "PARATUS." Beside the shield, "Bentley University" appears in block letters. Beneath the shield and university name there is a thin horizontal line, and below that, "Cronin Office of International Education." The entire logo is sky blue.       Logo for the University of Oregon Center for Applied Second Language Studies. Features the acronym CASLS in forest green block letters beneath a stylized green bridge with a blue river running underneath it. The image appears to have been painted with a brush.          CET logo features a stylized graphic in the shape of a circle that looks like two people reaching towards each other, their heads leaned towards the center of the circle. One figure is red, one is black. Beneath it, CET appears in large black block letters. Beside that Academic Programs is written in smaller block letters, one word stacked on top of the other.         The University of West Georgia Logo features "University of" in blue block letters followed by "West Georgia" in red block letters. Beside the university's name, a shield that looks like a red, white, and blue interstate highway sign has the abbreviation UWG printed on it.


Dickinson College workdmark features "Dickinson" in red serif font.       Northern Arizona University logo features NAU in dark blue block letters. The triangle in the center of the A is a stylized gold mountain. Beneath this, the full name, Northern Arizona University is written in thinner type, all capital letters, with each word stacked on top of the next.         The World Youth, Student, and Education Travel Confederation logo features an image of a globe formed by pictures of people who appear to be walking alone and in groups in rows around the world. Beside the globe, WYSE TRAVEL appears in large block letters with Confederation in smaller block letters beneath it. The whole logo is dark blue.         The Academic Programs International logo features lower "api" in light blue on a black background. Above it, a dark blue circle has four smaller circular world maps arching across the middle of it. Moving from bottom to top each globe gets larger and shows a different perspective of the world.     


ISA                Spanish Studies Abroad: The Center for Cross Cultural Study         Tulane Office of Study Abroad logo

University of RochesterMeredith College wordmark in maroonJMU Center for Global Engagement

The University of Kansas Study Abroad and Global Engagement, International Affairs         Miami University's logo       Michigan State University Office for Education Abroad


IFSA wordmark                

AMIDEAST Education Abroad in the Arab World           CAPA logo             

Project Timeline
February 2019 Official Project Launch
January-April 2019 Ongoing Recruitment of Project Partners for Phase 1: Alumni Survey
February 11, 2019 The Forum begins social media promotion
February 2019 Partners begin email outreach to education abroad program alumni
March – May 2019 Ongoing outreach to education abroad program alumni by The Forum and partners (see Partner Info Packet for details)
June 1, 2019 Survey closed – 4899 respondents completed our survey! We look forward to sharing results with you soon.
Early 2020 Survey results published*
Nov. 2019 – Mar. 2020 Presentations at ACTFL, The Forum’s Annual Conference, AAAL
January 2020 Phase 2: Language History Interviews and documentary project begins
April 2021 Release date for Alumni Profile #1: Antonia Zunarelli
September 2021 Release additional Alumni Profiles + publish findings from study

Colleagues with questions about this project can contact Amelia Dietrich, Director for Research and Resources ( for more information.