UNDERLYING CAUSES OF THE GEOGRAPHIC CHOICE DECISION OF US BUSINESS STUDENTS TO STUDY ABROAD
1 Monfort College of Business (UNITED STATES)
2 Drake University (UNITED STATES)
3 University of Northern Colorado (UNITED STATES)
4 ISM University of Management and Economics (LITHUANIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 12th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 5-7 March, 2018
Location: Valencia, Spain
Abstract:Approximately 270,000 students from the US study abroad each year. Of these, those from business and management constitute the second largest group (about 20%). However, more than three times this number of foreign students study in the US. US institutions are often interested in generating revenue from international students, but for most the US tuition is beyond their budget. Often international students rely on exchange agreements to attend US universities. However, most US institutions require a balance in their incoming and outgoing student exchanges. It is often the case that there is higher demand for foreign students to attend US institutions than for outgoing US students. Although US institutions attempt to encourage their students to study abroad, only 1.5% tend to do so. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both exchange partners to work together to develop and market programs that appeal to students.
Most academic research focuses on the underlying motivations of students to study abroad or the specific benefits achieved by the students, faculty and institution of such programs. For the most part this stream of research is well developed. Therefore, we focus on which motivations are most likely to drive a US student to be interested in studying in a specific region. Four hundred forty-one US undergraduate business students were surveyed. Forty-four had previously studied abroad and 121 indicated that they would not consider studying abroad. Of those that expressed interest, 267 completed the remainder of the survey.
The survey measured the perceived benefits (8 items) and Obstacles (9 items) of participating in a study abroad experience. In addition, their interest in studying in 9 regions (Western Europe, Central/Eastern Europe, Australia, Central/South America, East Asia, Central Asia, Middle East, North America, and Africa) was measured on a 5 point scale. Finally, student characteristics were measured.
The initial results are reflective of current study abroad patterns by US students and previous research. Expense was perceived as the highest concern, followed by safety and concerns about graduating. While students recognized the potential professional benefits, personal benefits (adventure, fun, travel) ranked higher. Students expressed highest interest in Europe, followed by Australia. Interest in other areas was lower and relatively similar between the remaining areas.
Student who perceive the highest personal benefits were most likely to choose EU countries whereas those who perceived more professional benefits expressed more interest in countries with greater cultural differences (Asia/Africa). Students that were most concerned about graduating on time (last year students) were most interested in culturally similar countries (North America and Australia), as were those that indicated high personal obstacles (leaving friends and family and safety). This information allows partner programs to tailor programs and marketing efforts to students based on their motivations and constraints.
Keywords: Study Abroad, Geographic Choice.