International educational tourism has the potential to foster global learning; however, very little empirical research exists to support this claim. This study responds to the growing demand in the literature for rigorous empirical research to test the underpinning assumption of IET. A global learning survey instrument is developed and completed by 1152 Grade 11 learners in 16 South African exclusive high schools. In doing so, this paper demonstrates that some types of IET are more conducive to global learning than others. Furthermore, for significant global learning to occur, educational tourism needs to be facilitated and cultural difference needs to be experienced.
Personality traits that include curiosity, altruism, and being open-minded to new experiences, are identified as predictors of global learning, but the effect of school-based academic achievement is small.
Additionally, through the synthesis of educational tourism, international education, experiential learning and global learning theories, the concept of IET is developed.