Massey University student exchange programmes to the United States of America : a description : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of requirements of the degree of Master of Education at Massey University
The aim of this study was to describe the student exchange programmes between Massey University and the University of California (UC), California State University (CSU) and the University of Montana (UM), administered by the International Exchange Programmes Committee at Massey University, providing a qualitative description through a comprehensive characterization. An evaluative model, a holistic-inductive and a naturalistic strategy and formative-action research design were adopted. The following qualitative social science methods of inquiry were utilized; survey, interview, observation, participant observation, document and content analysis. Programme directors/co-ordinators and past exchange students, from the four participating institutions, were sent questionnaires. A number of informal interviews were held with; programme administrators, past and present exchange students, university staff and experts in the field. Access to some Massey University International Exchange Programmes Committee documents and letters of communication provided further data. The literature search was extensive. United States of America based organizations involved with study abroad provided a wealth of information. To aid the documentation on the history of international exchange programmes in New Zealand, questionnaires were sent to all New Zealand universities. The study is presented in a format that will aid administrators in their decision making of the future. The literature review is comprehensive, summarizing relevant research in the field and the results describe the programme administration and exchange student experience in detail. The exchange programmes can be described as 'organized to a medium extent and are administered by a university appointed committee. The exchange programmes assist cultural exchange and enable selected students to gain first hand knowledge and understanding of other areas of the world while working for academic credit. Massey University students (who have come from primarily the agriculture/horticulture, business and social science faculties) have generally had most positive experiences. CSU send mainly agricultural students from San Luis Obispo. American students also had positive experiences. They highlighted the cultural benefits of such an experience, learning not only about the New Zealand way of life but also about their own culture in relation to others. Massey University students tended to emphasis the benefit the exchange experience would have on their future careers. Students suggest that the cross-crediting of academic credit, earned while on exchange, and the availability of information made available, to prospective and intending students, be reviewed in an effort to make the experience a more enjoyable one. Evaluation procedures are not present within the organizational framework of the Massey University programmes. A comparative lack of interest on the part of Massey studentry is discussed with reference to awareness levels, recruitment procedures, future developments and resources currently available. Note that this discussion is not evaluative in nature, as it is not the purpose of this study to judge programme effectiveness but rather to provide the characterization from which an evaluation might begin.