Rannsóknir á áhrifum skiptináms á ungmenni

Íslensk rannsókn
Þegar talað er um nemendaskipti er gjarnan minnst á hvað þeim fylgir mikill þroski fyrir alla hlutaðeigandi. Þetta er innihald þeirrar óformlegu menntunar sem AFS býður upp á, bæði þeim sem fara sem skiptinemar og þeim sem taka á móti skiptinemum.

Haustið 2006 gerður þær Heiðdís Sóllilja Bragadóttir og Salóme Guðmundsdóttir nokkuð umfangsmikla ritgerð um áhrif skiptináms á ungmenni á vegum AFS undir heitinu "Sá einn veit er víða ratar...". Ritgerðin var lokaverkefni til BSc-prófs í viðskiptafræði við Háskólann í Reykjavík.

Í samantekt kemur fram að niðurstöður ritgerðarinnar séu uppörvandi fyrir AFS:

,,Skiptinám hefur mikið gildi til frambúðar fyrir þá sem utan fara; tungumálakunnátta þeirra er mun meiri en samanburðarhópsins og gildir það ekki aðeins um þekkingu á tungumáli dvalarlandsins; viðhorf þeirra til útlendinga er jákvæðara og skilningur á framandi menningarheimum, siðum, venjum og gildum, þroskaðri en hinna sem ekki
fóru. Skiptinemarnir eru jafnframt öruggari í alþjóðlegum samskiptum og hafa almennt meiri áhuga á þeim. Niðurstöður úr viðurkenndu persónuleikaprófi sem notað var í rannsókninni gefa enn fremur til kynna að AFS nemar séu almennt móttækilegri fyrir nýjungum og eigi auðveldara með að laga sig að nýjum aðstæðum.
Ofangreindar niðurstöður gefa til kynna að starf AFS á Íslandi sé að skila tilætluðum árangri. Það má því álykta að þeir einstaklingar sem farið hafa á þeirra vegum til í skiptinám til annarra landa séu samkeppnishæfir á alþjóðavettvangi."
(bls 3-4).

Ritgerð Sóllilju Bragadóttur og Salóme Guðmundsdóttur má nálgast hér.


Erlendar rannsóknir

Long Term Impact Study
In 2006, AFS conducted a large-scale research effort in order to determine the long-term impact of an intercultural learning experience. The study compared AFS alumni to their peers, 20 to 25 years after their participation in an exchange program. More than 11,000 AFS Alumni in 15 different countries were contacted and nearly 2,000 submitted survey results. Each person who responded was also asked to nominate two high school friends to complete the survey as the control group. The study found that AFS participants showed significant advantages in language fluency and cultural competence that lasted far beyond the duration of the experience abroad.  SÆKJA HÉR (pdf).

Educational Results
The Assessment of the Impact of the AFS Study Abroad Experience was an independent research study conducted in 2005 by Dr. Mitchell R. Hammer in partnership with AFS. Thousands of students around the world were evaluated before, during and after an experience abroad. Compared to a control group of their peers, AFS Participants made significant improvements in language fluency, their knowledge of other cultures and their ability to forge intercultural friendships. The results of the research conclusively confirmed that exchange programs, especially at the high school level, play a critical role in building bridges across cultural differences. SÆKJA HÉR (pdf).

The AFS Impact Study 1980s
One of the earliest studies on the impact of cultural exchange programs was conducted by AFS in the 1980s. Thousands of AFS participants were interviewed at different points during the program to measure their learning and personal growth across 17 different variables. The findings were substantial, as subjects showed significantly greater increases in understanding other cultures, awareness and appreciation of host country and culture, foreign language appreciation and ability, international awareness, and adaptability. The AFS experience also seems to help students become less materialistic, more independent in their thinking, more aware of their home country and culture, better able to communicate with others, and better able to think critically. Still regarded as one of the most significant pieces of research on the subject, the AFS Impact Study has been reproduced in several formats, and numerous scholarly journals have published articles based on the results. SÆKJA HÉR (pdf).

AFS Research Summary – 1980-1993
This document summarizes the knowledge and the insights AFS has gained from the studies and research on Intercultural Learning carried out from 1980 to 1993. The studies included in this Summary are: AFS Impact Study (1980-1985), Family Characteristics Study (1981), Early Return Study (1984), Matched Pair Placement Study (1984), Theory into Practice Series (1984-1987), The Hosting Experience, Volunteers Resource Study, Orientation Evaluation, Student Evacuation & Replacement: Bolivia (1980) and Work of Other Researchers. SÆKJA HÉR (pdf).

AFS Research Summary – 1947-1975
This document provides a broad view of the major research carried out by AFS until 1975, including the hypothesis and findings generated by them, the methods used and what other topics would be of interest for future study. Results of research have been grouped in this document into thirteen categories: Categories I-VII reflect program processes; Categories VIII-X concentrate on U.S. field units, international field units and the internal workings of the office; Category XI focuses on the environment external to AFS; Category XII concerns itself with the finances of the organization; and, finally, Category XIII presents a short bibliography of books written about the AFS experience. SÆKJA HÉR (pdf).