Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mobile at University – Fit for Life

03.07.2013
Psychologists at Jena University proof positive ‘side effects’ of studying abroad

Spain, France and Great Britain – these are the favourite countries of young Germans who study abroad under the ERASMUS programme. More and more German students consider one or two terms at a university abroad an essential part of their CVs.

As a consequence, the number of students who spent some time at a foreign university has more than doubled over the last few years and it is estimated that about a quarter of all German students have gained some form of international experiences.

And that is worth it – not only in terms of university and career success. Sojourning in a foreign country also has positive effects on the students’ personal development. That is what psychologists of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) could prove in the context of the project ‘PEDES – Personality Development of Sojourners’ which is up to now the most comprehensive study about the effects of student sojourning. Dr. Julia Zimmermann and Professor Dr. Franz Neyer present their research results in the magazine ‘Journal of Personality and Social Psychology’ (DOI: 10.1037/a0033019).

“To find one’s way in a foreign country is an important life experience,” states Professor Neyer. “Such experiences have influence on the personality development of young adults.” “Therefore we posed the question whether a stay abroad can influence the personality development of sojourning students,” Julia Zimmermann says. To answer this question, the psychologist conducted an online-study that followed a sample of more than 1,000 students from about 200 German universities over the course of an academic year.

The sample included both students who were planning to go abroad as well as a control group of students who stayed in Germany during that time period. All students completed three online questionnaire, the first one shortly before the beginning of the term – either abroad or in Germany –, the second and third one five and eight months later, respectively. Amongst others, the questionnaires included measures of the Big Five personality traits, i.e., Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Emotional Stability that are considered to constitute the basic dimensions of human personality.

The result: “Those students who are about to study abroad are – even before they leave – more open-minded, conscientious and extravert than their fellow students who stay at home,” says Julia Zimmermann. Moreover, the Jena psychologists assessed the personality changes the experience sojourning abroad brings about: “Those who spent some time abroad profit in their personality development, for instance in terms of growing openness and emotional stability. Their development regarding these characteristics clearly differed from the control group even when initial personality differences were taken into account,” says the psychologist, who herself studied in France with the European ERASMUS-programme during her time at university.

The researchers identified the much higher numbers of international contacts as a mechanism to explain these differences in personality development. “People who integrate successfully into a different culture may find it easier to cope with new situations and master challenges,” assumes Dr. Zimmermann. “However, it is not imperative to go abroad to gain these experiences. But those who hit the road clearly benefit from the sojourning experience,” Zimmermann resumes. According to the Jena researchers their findings suggest that the generous support of student sojourns abroad is worth to be continued in the future.

Original-Publication:
Julia Zimmermann, Franz J. Neyer: Do We Become a Different Person When Hitting the Road? Personality Development of Sojourners, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2013, DOI: 10.1037/a0033019

Contact:
Dr. Julia Zimmermann, Prof. Dr. Franz Neyer
Institute of Psychology
Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Humboldtstraße 11, D-07743 Jena
Germany
Phone: ++49 3641 / 945168, ++49 3641 / 945161
Email: zimmermann.julia[at]uni-jena.de, franz.neyer[at]uni-jena.de

Dr. Ute Schönfelder | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

CCNY physicists master unexplored electron property

26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion

26.07.2017 | Life Sciences

Large-Mouthed Fish Was Top Predator After Mass Extinction

26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>