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Cultural Sensitivity Associated with Domestic Travel Study Program: Long-Term Impact

DOI: 10.4236/ce.2019.101008, PP. 111-127

Keywords: Cultural Competence, Cultural Awareness, Cultural Sensitivity, Dietetics, Do-mestic Travel, Survey, Multicultural, Nutrition

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Domestic and international travel study programs have grown in length and popularity since they began in 1923. Regardless of the field of study, the goal of most programs is to enhance student cultural sensitivity. The purpose of this study was to explore the contribution of an undergraduate food-focused domestic travel study program on long-term cultural sensitivity based on the ASKED model. A travel study program focused on transcultural food and cuisine was initiated in 1987 and as of 2017, implemented 22 times. The program length varied between 3?and5 weeks and was offered in two locations in the United States. A survey developed to explore the long-term impact of the program incorporated the ASKED model of cultural competence. This model includes five domains: cultural awareness, skill, knowledge, encounters, and desire. The survey was validated and found to be reliable. University of Delaware alumni who participated in the travel study program (n = 461) and a comparison group of alumni (n = 402) who did not participate in the program were invited to complete the survey. The majority of respondents majored in nutrition and dietetics. Alumni who participated in the travel study program had significantly higher total cultural sensitivity scores and also higher scores on 3 domains, namelycultural skill, knowledge, and desire compared to those that did not. Of the 11 program activities participants were asked to rank as contributors to cultural sensitivity, dining experiences and farm to table tours were rated as the top two, respectively. The study findings provided evidence that a short-term, domestic travel study program enhanced long-term cultural sensitivity. Since domestic programs may be a more cost-effective option and align more closely with employment opportunities in healthcare than international travel programs for college graduates, educators should provide opportunities and encourage dietetic students to participate in these travel programs.


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