The Impact of International Virtual Exchange on Student Success


  • Jonathan Lee East Carolina University
  • Jami Leibowitz East Carolina University
  • Jon Rezek East Carolina University
  • Meghan Millea East Carolina University
  • George Saffo East Carolina University



international virtual exchange, study abroad, student success metrics


This study expands the literature on high impact practices by assessing the effect of global experiences, including international virtual exchange (IVE) and study abroad, on student success, measured as GPA, first-year retention, and graduation rate. Our dataset tracks over 47,000 students over 10 years at a large U.S. university. Our fixed effects models show that IVE and studying abroad increase average GPA. Using logit models, we find that taking IVE courses or studying abroad positively impacts the probability students are retained and eventually graduate. Our findings also show that first-generation college students, financially disadvantaged students, female students, and Black and African American students who take IVE courses benefit more than their demographic counterparts who don't. Taken together, these results confirm that IVE is both a high impact practice and a pedagogy that offers significant benefits to under-resourced students and students who have historically been underrepresented in global learning activities.

Author Biographies

Jonathan Lee, East Carolina University

JONATHAN LEE, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at East Carolina University. His major research interests lie in the area of applied microeconomics and industrial organization. Email:

Jami Leibowitz, East Carolina University

JAMI LEIBOWITZ, PhD, is Director of Global Academic Initiatives and Associate Director of the Office of Global Affairs at East Carolina University. Her research interests include development and assessment of international virtual exchange programming.

Jon Rezek, East Carolina University

JON REZEK, PhD, is Assistant Vice Chancellor for Global Affairs and Professor of Economics at East Carolina University. In addition to administrative duties, his research interests include efficiency and productivity analysis and international economics.

Meghan Millea , East Carolina University

MEGHAN MILLEA, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Economics at East Carolina University. Her major research interests span a range of applied microeconomics and labor economics topics.

George Saffo , East Carolina University

GEORGE SAFFO completed his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from East Carolina University and was a member of the university’s Honors College.


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How to Cite

Lee, J., Leibowitz, J., Rezek, J., Millea , M. ., & Saffo , G. . (2022). The Impact of International Virtual Exchange on Student Success . Journal of International Students, 12(S3), 77–95.