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Student Perceptions & The Value of Studying Abroad: A Look at Michigan State University Undergraduate Business Students
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The multitude of existing research conducted within the field of study abroad programs generally reinforces the popular understanding that the practice not only broadens the mind, provides valuable experiences and enhances stagnating perspectives, but also contributes to a skillset that is becoming increasingly necessary for success in the globally focused world of today. Despite the evidence supporting their effectiveness, relatively few undergraduate students in the United States choose to participate in some form of study abroad program. The following analysis will examine the potential reasoning of why this is so.

Through the administration of questionnaires and interviews along with a comprehensive review of existing research, the following pages examine the attitudes and inhibitions of undergraduate university students as they relate to studying abroad and to what extent these perceptions fall in line with the escalating importance of multicultural competence. Used as an exemplifying case of American undergraduate students, Michigan State University’s Eli Broad College of Business furnished the sample of participants used in this study.

Largely supported through the data obtained from the conducted interviews, undergraduate students are seen to place a high value on the personal and cultural benefits acquired through study abroad participation while relegating academic focus to a somewhat tangential position. Factors such as a student’s previous international travel experience and awareness of available programs are seen to influence these perceptions to some degree. Despite the significant value placed on such programs, a large percentage of students express concern over a variety of barriers prohibiting them from pursuing enrollment. The financial commitments associated with the participation in a study abroad program were almost unanimously considered to be a serious burden on individuals. These concerns were supplemented and at times exacerbated by other factors such as a student’s availability of time, willingness to suspend important personal relationships and needed class credit.

Covered in detail below, these findings are seen to support and corroborate much of the existing research that has been previously conducted within this field while providing additional insight by way of student testimony.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
study abroad, studying abroad, study abroad program, Michigan State University, MSU, student exchange, undergraduate, business students, perception, value, international, travel, barrier, obstacle, participation, culture, cultural, overseas
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-104896OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-104896DiVA: diva2:727375
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Available from: 2014-06-30 Created: 2014-06-20 Last updated: 2014-06-30Bibliographically approved

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