Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Major Professor

Michael Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ilene Berson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lauren Braunstein, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Darlene DeMarie, Ph.D.


Bronfenbrenner, global citizen, self-curated photo elicitation, study abroad, transnational feminism


This study used self-curated photo elicitation to express students’ awareness of power, privilege, and identity. The purpose of this qualitative research was to explore how female undergraduate students interacted with their environment and conceptualized a critical understanding of global citizenship. As such, this inquiry asked: (1) To what extent do female undergraduate students from the United States who have participated in a study abroad program develop a critical understanding of global citizenship? (2) How are students’ awareness of power, privilege, and identity reflected in their documentation and narration of their experiences abroad?

Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological systems theory and transnational feminism explained the researcher’s unique perspective on study abroad and global citizenship. Most feminists only look at power, privilege, and oppression at the individual level, ignoring environmental influences. Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory states everyone sees the world with individual lenses, explaining cultural differences, and why students respond differently (Mapes, 2020). Also, some critical perspectives failed to acknowledge the historical impact on development and how relationships and experiences impact personal development (Enns et al., 2020). The significance of this research contributes to the perceptions and experiences of female students from study abroad. The key findings represent five themes: (1) life abroad, (2) global interactions, (3) global community, (4) time abroad, and (5) American perceptions. Recommendations included may improvement global citizenship education and study abroad programs.