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Going Global: Understanding the Choice Process of the Intent to Study Abroad

Abstract

This study applies an integrated model of college choice to better describe students who do and do not intend to study abroad. Although internationalization through study abroad is widely touted as a preferred means of developing globally competent college graduates, very little is known about the factors that influence students’ predisposition to study abroad. This research explores the impact of financial, human, social, and cultural capital on students’ intent to study abroad. Analysis of data from the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education (WNSLAE) demonstrates a complex interplay between SES, accumulated pre-college capital, and capital acquired during the freshman year. Important implications for national policy makers, senior administrators, study abroad professionals and higher education researchers are discussed.

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Acknowledgements

This research was supported by a generous grant from the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College to the Center for Research on Undergraduate Education at The University of Iowa.

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Correspondence to Mark H. Salisbury.

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Salisbury, M.H., Umbach, P.D., Paulsen, M.B. et al. Going Global: Understanding the Choice Process of the Intent to Study Abroad. Res High Educ 50, 119–143 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-008-9111-x

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Keywords

  • Study abroad
  • Internationalization
  • College choice
  • Globalization
  • Cultural capital
  • Social capital
  • Socio-economic status