Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Educational Travel and Global Citizenship

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Educational Travel and Global Citizenship

Article excerpt

With anticipated passage of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act,1 there are increasing calls for studies to empirically demonstrate the link between study abroad and global citizenry. In response to these calls, we examined the extent to which participation in short-term, educational travel, study abroad programs to the South Pacific influenced support for environmental policies across different citizen types, and the effect of destination (Australia or New Zealand) and student characteristics (gender and major) on this relationship.

Global Citizenship

The notion of citizenship is typically associated with the rights and duties of a particular nation-state; however, global citizenship cannot be extended in this way since there is no global government (Noddings, 2005). While contemporary definitions of global citizenship remained focused on notions of obligations and justice, they also incorporated a concern for environmental protection and many argued that global citizenship was firmly rooted in an environmental context (Artfield, 2002; Bryant, 2006; Dobson, 2003; Dower & Williams, 2002; Shallcross & Robinson, 2006; Winn, 2006). Attfield (2002), for example, suggested "environmental responsibilities form the most obvious focus of concern for global citizens, as well as the territory where global obligations most clearly arise" (p. 191). Similarly, the environment provided the basis of Dobson's (2003) post-cosmopolitan view of citizenship, as an obligation to reduce our ecological footprint to sustainable levels; i.e., to act as an "Earth Citizen."

According to Dobson (2003), the concept of justice is used to distinguish between a community of citizens and that of humans: A "Good Citizen" is one who accepts a political obligation to act in a just and fair manner, in contrast to a "Good Samaritan" who may act out of a duty. The distinction between justice and duty is illustrated using the example of climate change, "if global warming is principally caused by wealthy nations, and if global warming is at least a part cause of strange weather, then monies should be transferred as a matter of compensatory justice rather than as aid or charity.... globalization then changes the source and nature of obligation" (Dobson, 2003; p. 31). The global nature of many environmental issues such as climate change, ozone depletion, the supply and distribution of renewable and non-renewable resources, and biodiversity and species loss transcend national boundaries with effects distributed across the planet. It follows therefore, that the civic concern expressed by citizens most appropriately concerns the sustainable use and conservation of earth's resources. As such, global citizens are not simply international by reason of their world travel but as a result of their ecological footprint - the quantity of nature (specifically, the amount of natural resources) required and consumed to sustain their lifestyle choices and behaviors. Moreover, global citizenship in this sense is not just a matter of being a good community member, rather in recognizing an ethical imperative or willingness to reduce one's ecological impact and support a sustainable footprint that may have no immediate, personal value but ultimately benefit others around the world.

Westheimer and Kahne (2004) have proposed three types of dtizens: (a) personally responsible citizens (someone who acts responsibly in his/her community, obeys laws, recycles, gives blood, and/or volunteers in times of crisis); (b) participatory citizens (someone who is an active member of civic and community organizations, organizes community efforts such as environmental dean-ups, etc); and (c) justice-oriented citizens (someone who critically assesses sodai, poUtical and economic structures to see beyond surfaces and challenges injustice, knows about sodai movements, and explores the root causes of problems). The distinction among these three dtizen-types is described as follows, "if participatory citizens are organizing the food drive and personally responsible dtizens are donating food, justice-oriented citizens are asking why people are hungry and acting on what they discover" (p. …

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