The Spiritual Journey of the Student Exchange Program
Date of Issue2017
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This study aims to add to the discussion on “tourism as a secular pilgrimage” by understanding how student exchange programs constitute a spiritual experience to its participants, and in doing so, uncover how gendered interactions in tourism may affect the experience of spirituality. Using the conceptual framework of the “spirituality of the journey”, I adopt a phenomenological approach towards examining the personal and subjective experience of spirituality of 16 undergraduates who have completed an exchange program. The results suggest that student exchange programs provide the time and space that facilitates the search for personal meaning; and allows for experiences of transcendence and interconnectedness. In addition, the perception of female vulnerability and heightened sense of danger promotes personal development and empowerment among female participants. This study extends existing literature by demonstrating how the touristic journey itself, regardless of motive or destination, may represent a spiritual experience for the participant.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University