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Intense Customer Satisfaction while Studying Abroad:

Study Abroad as a Transcendent Customer Experience


  • Michael J. Petersen
  • Newell Wright North Dakota State University
  • David Aron


In a hermeneutical analysis of 11 in-depth interviews with past study abroad participants and 65 photographs shared by these participants, we affirm the findings of Wright and Larsen (2012 and 2016) that study abroad is an ‘extraordinary experience.” We also discover five additional emergent themes: sight versus blindness, words versus actual experiences, emotional intensity, extreme enjoyment and personal growth and awakening. We then interpret these five new themes as Transcendent Customer Experiences, following Schouten et al. (2007), to explain the high levels of satisfaction and delight produced in participants of study abroad programs. The paper concludes with a discussion of the similarities and differences between TCEs and extraordinary experiences.




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