In an era of globalization, increasing numbers of nursing programs are initiating international learning experiences, yet empirical data is lacking regarding long term benefits and effects of international placements. This paper presents findings from a participatory action study designed in response to this gap. Objectives were to describe student learning in international experiences, and to facilitate strategies that supported integration of this learning into personal and professional domains upon return to Canada. Seventeen students and three faculty participated over twelve months following their international experiences. Initial responses to the international experience included reports of new ways of viewing the world - often characterized by heightened social consciousness - yet in the immediate and longer-term many struggled with how to translate and sustain this learning in home settings. Considerable effort and intentionality was required to sustain social consciousness over time. Based on these findings, a preliminary framework for international experiences is presented.
©2011 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston