Wendy Sellers, Ph.D.


Social Work


College of Arts and Sciences


This pilot study’s driving force is to contribute to the student travel and study abroad literature and provide insight for social workers interested in practice on the global level. Social Work practice strongly emphasizes the importance of continuing education. On the macro level, advocacy and knowledge of policy can inform actions taken in the field. Literature surrounding study abroad among students typically focuses on cultural and educational impact, with little broad research focus on how study abroad experiences impact global awareness. The United Nations created a list of goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, aimed towards the rectification of pressing issues around the globe by the year 2030. The Sustainable Development Goals cover a broad range of targets, with its first being the lofty task of eradicating poverty, while others focus on the protection of biodiversity in forests and oceans. A common theme found in information surrounding the goals is how vital the spread of information is, whether it be at the local or political level. Before an acceptable level of sustainability is reached, citizens and governments must be aware of it. Some of the Sustainable Development Goals were used to create a new framework for gauging the effect travel has on knowledge of global issues. Data was collected from college-level students around South Carolina via an online survey. Questions within the survey were sorted into the scales named after the three overarching targets of the Sustainable Development Goals: ending poverty, ensuring prosperity for all, and protecting the planet. Results found that though most students who traveled had strong opinions about world issues, demographics and field of study were more likely to predict differences in opinion.