What shapes the intention to study abroad? An experimental approach
- 536 Downloads
In contrast to previous studies, this investigation aims to get deeper insights into the causes of the intention to study abroad by using an experimental approach. Although international experience is often considered as important, many students at German universities do not even consider abroad. Referring to the Theory of Rational Choice (RCT) and the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), the intention to study abroad is shaped by student’s evaluation of expected benefits from studying abroad, resources and restrictions regarding its realization, and normative aspects. In a factorial survey experiment, hypothetical study abroad descriptions with varying attributes were presented to students of economics and engineering of a German university. The experimental design allows for more nuanced operationalizations and for diminished endogeneity biases through systematic variation and randomization. Thus, a more direct test of the assumptions about educational decision-making is possible. A comparison of the unbiased predictor weights clearly indicates that students prioritize conditions when considering study abroad. They seem to not ponder about beneficial outcomes of studying abroad, such as own personality development and being in a desired host country, as long as the realization of the stay is not substantially guaranteed by related foreign language skills, sufficient financing, and a supportive host university. Further facilitations through an exchange program and exchange in a group, as well as expectations of family and friends are of secondary importance.
KeywordsStudy abroad Intentions Educational decision-making Experiment Factorial survey Theory of planned behavior Rational choice theory
The authors wish to thank the editors and three anonymous referees for their helpful comments and constructive remarks. This research was supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany [Grant Number 01PW11013].
- Baláž, V. Williams, A. M. (2015). Experimental research methods in migration: from natural to true experiments. Population, Space and Place. doi: 10.1002/psp.1974.
- Brus, S., & Scholz, C. (2007). Promoting mobility—study on obstacles to student mobility. Berlin: ESIB-The National Unions of Students in Europe.Google Scholar
- Campbell, D. T., & Stanley, J. C. (1963). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Chicago: Rand-McNally.Google Scholar
- DAAD, & DZHW (2014). Wissenschaft weltoffen. Daten und Fakten zur Internationalität von Studium und Forschung in Deutschland. Bielefeld: Bertelsmann.Google Scholar
- European Commission. (2014). The ERASMUS impact study. Effects of mobility on the skills and employability of students and the internationalisation of higher education institutions. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.Google Scholar
- Hadis, B. F. (2005). Why are they better students when they come back? Determinants of academic focusing gains in the study abroad experience. Frontiers: the Interdisciplinary Journal to Study Abroad, 11, 57–70.Google Scholar
- Heublein, U., Hutzsch, C., Schreiber, J., & Sommer, D. (2011a). Die Entwicklung der Auslandsmobilität deutscher Studierender. HIS: Projektbericht, September 2011.Google Scholar
- Heublein, U., Hutzsch, C., Schreiber, J., & Sommer, D. (2011b). Internationale Mobilität im Studium 2009. Ergebnisse einer Wiederholungsbefragung zu studienbezogenen Aufenthalten deutscher Studierender in anderen Ländern. HIS: Projektbericht, September 2011.Google Scholar
- Jiani, M. A. (2016). Why and how international students choose Mainland China as a higher education study abroad destination. Higher Education. doi: 10.1007/s10734-016-0066-0.
- Kratz, F. Netz, N. (2016). Which mechanisms explain monetary returns to international student mobility? Studies in Higher Education. doi: 10.1080/03075079.2016.1172307.
- Michael, I., Armstrong, A., & King, B. (2004). The travel behaviour of international students: the relationship between studying abroad and their choice of tourist destinations. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 10(1), 57–66.Google Scholar
- Netz, N. Finger, C. (2016). New horizontal inequalities in German higher education? Social selectivity of studying abroad between 1991 and 2012. Sociology of Education. doi: 10.1177/0038040715627196.
- Paus, E., & Robinson, M. (2008). Increasing study abroad participation: the faculty makes the difference. Frontiers: the Interdisciplinary Journal to Study Abroad, 17, 33–49.Google Scholar
- Petzold, K. (2017). Studying abroad as a sorting criterion in the recruitment process. A field experiment among german employers. Journal of Studies in International Education (in press).Google Scholar
- Pimpa, N. (2003). The influence of family on Thai students’ choices of international education. International Journal of Educational Management, 17(5), 211–219.Google Scholar
- Rossi, P. H. (1979). Vignette analysis: uncovering the normative structure of complex judgments. In R. K. Merton, J. S. Coleman, & P. H. Rossi (Eds.), Qualitative and quantitative social research: papers in honor of Paul F. Lazarsfeld (pp. 176–186). New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
- Sauer, C., Auspurg, K., Hinz, T., & Liebig, S. (2011). The application of factorial survey in general population samples: the effect of respondent age and education on response times and response consistency. Survey Research Methods, 5(3), 89–102.Google Scholar
- Snijders, T. A. B., & Bosker, R. J. (2012). Multilevel analysis. An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Toncar, M. F., Reid, J. S., & Anderson, C. E. (2005). Perceptions and preferences of study abroad: do business students have different needs? Journal of Teaching and International Business, 17(1/2), 61–80.Google Scholar