Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Lucy Spence


This dissertation reports the findings of a study on how international experiences impact adolescents. Data were gathered from interviews with and writing samples from seven participants with varying international experiences. A critical perspective and existing research in New Literacy Studies (NLS), on study abroad programs, and on transnationalism framed the study and predicted much of what was found about the literacies of adolescents with international experiences. However, five new findings emerged as significant about adolescents’ utilitarian, oral, geolingual, critical, and cosmopolitan literacies uniquely impacted by travel. From these findings, new insights emerged about the importance of embracing multiple forms of travel as beneficial, of emphasizing the positive and advantageous impact of travel on literacies, and of recognizing the increasing frequency with which adolescents have international experiences. The findings and insights respond to calls to improve adolescents’ literacies and global competencies and have implications for innovative teachers, researchers, and stakeholders invested in empowering adolescents.