Comparative study of factors influences the Decision to Study Abroad.

The international student market has become highly competitive globally. As  competition continues to intensify,  success  in  acquiring  and  retaining  International  students  will  depend  on  ability  of  a  country and/or institution to understand and respond to the needs of the market. This article looks at the factors influencing the decision to study abroad. The purpose is to uncover the extent to which different factors influence  this  decision  generally  and  specifically among  different  groups  of  students  as  well  as implications of these factors on the marketing of higher education services in South Africa. The findings show  that  although  supply  related  conditions in  home  country influence  the  decision  to  study  abroad, the  most  important  factors  are  those  related  to  the conditions  abroad.  Students  irrespective  of  group, mainly look to opportunities to enhance their career prospects through acquiring high quality education with qualifications that are recognized worldwide. The experience of studying abroad and its associated benefits is also important for most students.

U.S. higher education institutions, professionals in the field of international education exchange, and the federal government recognize the importance of a study abroad experience for American undergraduate students. While the total number of U.S. undergraduate students studying abroad has continually increased since the 1980s, the number of participating students of color remains low. The purpose of this study is to move beyond the barriers and outcomes of study abroad, and focus on those students of color who have made the decision to participate and the factors that influenced their decision. The barriers between applicants and non-applicants are also explored in order to recognize similar or different factors between the two groups.

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