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School Year Abroad to Present Groundbreaking Research at National Association of Independent Schools Annual Conference

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass., Feb. 25, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the second year, School Year Abroad (SYA) will present its groundbreaking research at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) annual conference, which begins February 26, 2014 in Orlando, Florida. The presentation, "Global Programs: What works and how can we improve?" will focus on the SYA student experience, particularly student growth in intercultural competence and creativity. This two-year project began in 2012 and closely followed students in SYA Spain, SYA Italy and a control group of students in the U.S.  The NAIS conference will be the first time that this study will be released to the public.

SYA President Jack Creeden and Executive Director Nelson Chase will be joined by Researcher Aric Visser to present an open and candid view of the study's results. "I have to be honest and say that our expectations were very high going into this project, and some of the results were quite challenging for us as an organization," said Creeden.  "But with those challenges also emerged a wealth of new opportunities that will help keep SYA on the cutting edge of study abroad."

While the core of the study centered on student growth in intercultural competence and creativity, student participants also took part in focus groups and personal interviews. In addition, students were monitored in their language use, social group participation and technology use, especially centered around social media.  The results of the research display the rapidly evolving landscape of study abroad. "In addition to challenges, this study produced some pretty remarkable positive results," Visser said. "We will share significant findings in student creative growth and offer some ways for all schools to improve student learning in creativity and critical thinking."

For Chase, this study provides immediate next steps for all SYA programs.  He stressed, "We have already begun using this information on the ground in our four schools and expect new programs and developments to produce even greater results in years to come.  We never intended embark on this study just to let it sit on a shelf.  We intend to keep moving forward."

"Global Programs: What works and how can we improve?" will be presented on Friday, February 28, 2014 at 8 a.m. in room Asia 1 of the Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.  Follow Jack Creeden's live tweets with hashtag #NAISGP.

About School Year Abroad
School Year Abroad (SYA) is a nonprofit organization with year-long and summer high school academic study abroad programs in China, France, Italy and Spain. Founded in 1964, SYA is the only high school study abroad program which allows students to live with a host family for an entire academic year while earning U.S. graduation credits and preparing for admission to selective U.S. colleges and universities. These central elements ensure that students realize a mastery of the language and a deep understanding of the culture. Visit www.sya.org for more information.

SOURCE School Year Abroad

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