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Higher Education

, Volume 69, Issue 6, pp 885–900 | Cite as

The social norm to study abroad: determinants and effects

Article

Abstract

The acquisition of intercultural skills by studies abroad is often considered as desirable. But although we can observe a steady increase of studies abroad in the last two decades, the vast majority of students can, obviously, compete on the labor market also without study abroad experience. This leads to the consideration that it could be increasingly a socially expected and thus normative behavior to study abroad, which develops only in specific social and professional contexts. In this paper, both the conditions and effects of a social norm to study abroad are discussed theoretically and empirically. Data of a cross-sectional survey among students of economics and engineering at a German university are used. The direct mobility experience is the strongest predictor of a social norm to study abroad and this norm, in turn, determines the intention to study abroad most, compared to expected personality development and career success. The results are finally discussed in terms of possible effects on individual mobility biographies and social inequality.

Keywords

International education Study abroad Social norm Mobility experience Willingness to be mobile Educational outcomes 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the editors and two anonymous reviewers for their many helpful comments and constructive remarks. We thank Franziska Reif for proofreading of the manuscript. This research was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany [Grant Number 01PW11013].

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyCatholic University of Eichstätt-IngolstadtEichstättGermany
  2. 2.School of Ecomomic DisciplinesUniversity of SiegenSiegenGermany

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