studying abroad

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction. 1

2.0 Literature Review.. 1

2.1A wide range of educational prospects. 1

2.2 Cutting-edge technology. 2

2.3 Opportunity for research, teaching and training. 2

2.4 Flexibility. 2

2.5 Support services for foreign students. 3

2.6 Global Education and Long-Term Career Prospects. 3

2.7 Campus Life Experience. 4

2.8 To see the world and broaden your experience. 4

2.9 To broaden your views, gain new insights and outlook through new relationships. 4

2.10.1 To learn new languages or to improve the knowledge of the language you already speak. 5

2.10.2 To shape your own future. 5

3.0 Methodology. 5

3.1 Critical Incident Technique. 6

3.2 Research Philosophy. 7

3.3 Research Approach. 8

3.4 Data collection methods. 9

3.4.1 Primary data. 9

3.4.3 Questionnaire Survey. 9

4.0 Analysis. 10

4.2 Hypotheses. 10

4.3 Chi-Square Analysis. 11

4.4 T-test Analysis. 12

4.5 Correlation Analysis. 13

5.0 Conclusion. 15

6.0 Appendix 1: Bar Chart. 16

7.0 References. 17


1.0 Introduction

Globally, United States and United Kingdom have finest institution of learning, with remarkable academic programs in countless disciplines. Undergraduate level has excellent academic programs in conventional and in professional disciplines. While graduate level, learners are given the opportunity to closely work with brilliant minds in their area of study. Additionally, they have the opportunity to fully participate in research and educational prospects. Globally, degrees from these countries are widely acknowledged for their success. During 2009/10 school year, the number of foreign students in United States increased by 3%. United States was the best destination globally for foreign students because they wanted to widen their academic skills as well as experience. This paper seeks to understand some of the factors that motivate students to choose to study overseas with a close look at United States America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK)

1.1 Objectives of Study


This paper seeks to investigate what motivates international students to prefer certain countries for higher education and equally what this academic destination do that makes studying in respective countries appealing.

1.2 Questions

  1. Are students motivated to study overseas because of the better job prospects after they graduate?
  2. Do students get motivated to study overseas because of advanced academic facilities accessible?
  3. Are parents responsible when it comes to encouraging students to study abroad?
  4. Do students get motivated to study internationally because they want to get away from home?

2.0 Literature Review

2.1A wide range of educational prospects

United States and UK have several higher learning institutions, about more than ten times than any other country in the world. As such, education system in this nation has opportunity for everyone regardless of their country of origin. A number of colleges and universities in USA emphasize on wide educational prospects, job-related skills, technical skills, practical skills, among others. In this regard, students can always get scores of options as well as educational opportunities (Reay et al. 2001). In many instances, students can get several learning institutions to select from irrespective of their educational needs.

2.2 Cutting-edge technology

In United States and UK, universities are ever on the first lane in embracing technology, research, and adopting suitable equipment and resources accessible to their learners. Even though, students are not in the technical fields, they are given opportunities to be skilled in integrating current technology to do research, process and acquire information (Lambert, 1995). Moreover, they give students chances to connect with educators, researchers and experts in their area of study.

2.3 Opportunity for research, teaching and training

Students have the chance of gaining practical experience through research and or teaching as they finance their education, in particular if they are graduate students. A number of graduate programs provide teaching and training skills that help learners to be tutoring or research assistants on certain projects assessing diverse aspects in their area of study. Foreign students are among the most valued educators and researchers in UK and USA higher learning institutions since they introduce new concepts and skills. This practical aspect of their educational prospect proves to be important in career development, providing students with insights in their area of study that cannot be acquired in theory.

2.4 Flexibility

Higher learning institutions in USA and UK have several academic programs in structured in a manner that fits a give course work, requirements must be fulfilled, and generally students have the chance of getting a broad range of courses to select from to satisfy such requirements.  On the other hand, for those pursuing graduate degree courses, are able to customize their syllabus to meet their academic objectives, needs and preferences (Lambert, 1995). When it comes to topic selection for graduate dissertation international students can highlight on ideas that are significant to their area of study and country of origin.

2.5 Support services for foreign students

Studying in UK and US is a rewarding opportunity, but it challenging for students to navigate through their daily issues. Majority of international students, find great assistance from foreign student offices that help them to integrate culturally and academically to diverse settings. The objective of these offices is to help students. Upon arrival there is orientation that acts a basis to several programs and benefits of studying abroad. Moreover, international offices help students to get visa, financial situation, accommodation, job opportunities, health issues and so forth. If students choose to complete their studies abroad the offices regular offer resume as well as job placement opportunities. In essence international office is an important and ensures international students transition easily in the education and cultural system of the selected country of study abroad (Tim & Soutar, 2002).

2.6 Global Education and Long-Term Career Prospects

Experience in international environment is marketable. Many companies look for abroad range of skills, adaptability and experience that foreign students gain in foreign universities. Firms in US are more and more seeking for a global presence. Regularly, they recruit and hire workers with multi-cultural skills, communication skills, negotiate and carry out business in diverse cultures.  US is not the only nation looking for such workers, foreign students are highly demanded in other countries. Recently, multinational firms are proactive in hiring and recruiting foreign student. Consequently, their long term career growth is increased through development of independence, cross-cultural skills and self-confidence-characters that are highly demanded globally.

2.7 Campus Life Experience

Studying abroad not only makes students widen their education opportunities, it also increases their cultural. Regardless, of the size or location of the university, most learning institutions abroad provide a wide range of student organization and clubs that correspond with students’ preferences.  Additionally, these universities give international students a chance to immerse in diverse cultures, meet new individuals and make friends.

2.8 To see the world and broaden your experience

The globe is filled with captivating places. Being a student abroad acts a basis to interact with other cultures. It also provides an opportunity to literally assimilate in other cultures for a given time frame. On the other hand, this gives students to perceive the humanity from an entirely different angle and assist them in furthering their academic goals. This is a transforming life experience.

2.9 To broaden your views, gain new insights and outlook through new relationships

This gives international students a chance to meet and make friend. Interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and nations widens their horizons simultaneously gives them an opportunity to see how other individual perceive things, their preferences and their opinions. In addition, interacting with different people helps students to overcome as well as refute any bias, especially with regard to archetypical attitude concerning particular countries and religions (Ridley, 2004). Living in a foreign country helps students to automatically interact in a different cultural background that they have had bias and also assists them to foster friendship. Interacting with other people from different cultures is also a learning experience, a process of discovering and understanding different aspects, fascinating facts and important information.

2.10.1 To learn new languages or to improve the knowledge of the language you already speak

The most suitable way to learn a new language is to study in a nation where it’s the native language. This is because students will be using it to communicate daily. Learning new language is an intricate and requires commitment and ability (Sharrock, 2000). Some individuals are fast learners and within a short time frame they are in position to formulate views and express their standpoints using the new lingua, others will struggle to formulate sentences. Do not give up. After all, students have many opportunities to improve their English skills since it’s the official language for all learners.

2.10.2 To shape your own future

Studying abroad exposes students to a variety of diverse influences. This is the time students have the opportunity to think about their future goals, understand themselves, and make informed decisions about what they prefer. Moreover, this the period which students are exposed to the outside world, all new dimensions and viewpoint are within reach. Studying foreign university may be a life time changing opportunity.

3.0 Methodology

3.1 Critical Incident Technique

This paper applies the Critical Incident Technique (CIT). The Critical Incident Technique (CIT) is a method that is based on human behavior. Basically, the CIT follows a series of procedures that include: data collection, data analysis and classification of observations. The Critical Incident Technique was introduced by Flanagan (1954) and he conducted a set of researches concentrated on various effective and ineffective behaviors at work. In the beginning the associates of Flanagan observed events or “critical incidents” and then reports provided by research subjects were used in place of direct observation. Chell (1998) suggested that the CIT is a method that is based on a qualitative interview procedure that makes easy the investigation of important happenings (events, incidents, processes and issues) that are identified by the respondent, the way they are controlled and the outcomes and their effect. A critical incident is considered as the one that makes positive or negative contribution to an occurrence. In service research the CIT asks the interviewers to describe their experience.                          Specifically, when the critical incidents are gathered then analysis of the events takes place. Analysis includes: a general reference is decided to describe the incidents and the inductive development of the main and subcategories. Methodology is the theory that illustrates the course of research based on the theoretical and philosophical assumptions, including an interview questionnaire and observation (Saunders et al. 2003). CIT is a methodology in service research to a) help current and future researchers employing the CIT method to examine their methodological decisions closely and b) suggest guidelines for the proper application and reporting of the procedures involved when using this method. In addition, CIT can be used in assessing perceptions of students from different cultures (Stauss & Mang 1999). Institutions attempt to design and implement programmes in order to make sure that the students are fully satisfied with the service encounter and with the overall service quality.

3.2 Research Philosophy

According to Saunders et al. (2003), the research philosophy depends on the way we think about the development of knowledge and generally the way we go about doing the research. Lee and Lings (2008) finds that, understanding philosophy and how it relates to research practice is paramount. There are several research philosophies based on the values of a researcher which plays a key role in business and management research. The researcher found this to be a positivist when exercising the analysing factors that influence students to choose certain countries as their destinations, (Kolb and McCarthy 1984) is considered to be vital for pursuing the research as it suits the main approached methods that is majorly based on statistical data collected by survey. According to Saunders et al (2003), the positivist researcher will traditionally assume the role of an objective analyst, tranquilly making detached interpretations about the data that been collected in an apparently value-free manner.  Whereas according to Nachmias, & Nachmias, (2000), Post-positivist research principles emphases meaning and the creation of new knowledge, and are able to support committed social movements, that is, movements that aspire to change the world and contribute towards social justice.                                            The researcher has adopted the ‘Post Positivism’ philosophy for this research, in order to overcome limitations possessed by positivism, for instance positivism imply that you have to understand your own place in the world and what you are bringing to the research by way of assumptions about knowledge (Alan, 2006). Whereas investigating your own epistemologies and understanding how they affect you as a researcher is essential for post-positivist approach, which is considered to be more relevant to this research by the researcher. Nachmias, & Nachmias, (2000), state the post-positivist stance asserts the value of values, passion and politics in research. Research in this mode requires an ability to take a distanced view or an overview. The researcher used online surveys to conduct (general public) and interview students. Analysis of various themes was used for evaluation reasons, while collected data was examined using SPSS, which enabled the researcher to understand the factors that motivate students to choose universities for higher learning.


3.3 Research Approach

According to Saunders et al. (2003), the theory may or may not be made clear in the design of the research, although it was usually be made explicit in our presentation of the findings and conclusions. Research can have elements which are based upon an inductive, deductive or a combination of the two (Hussey and Hussey, 199). Inductive approach researches pre-existing body of knowledge that exists in a particular field. This should be used as a source of reference for research previously conducted in the chosen field of enquiry; basically it is searching and reviewing the literature. The literature review was used in this research to address the research problem as identified, (Saunders et al. 2003).                                                                        Hussey and Hussey (1997) defined deductive research as “a study in which a conceptual and theoretical structure is developed which is then tested by empirical observation; thus particular instances are deducted from general influences.” Deductive research is a study in which theory is tested by empirical observation. Deductive approach to be carried out, the important characteristic of deductive approach is that concepts need to be analyses in a way that enables facts to be measured quantitatively. Deductive approach is data based on observation or experience and fieldwork which is the study of real organizations or social settings, and that this research may use positivist or phenomenological methods.


3.4 Data collection methods

3.4.1 Primary data

The primary data collection was done through structured interviews that involve students around the world. These data was compared with the secondary data, through these analysis researcher will identify the issues and problems and find possible recommendations, applied in qualitative research (Ghauri and Jones, 2004). According to them, qualitative research the purpose is seldom to arrive at statistically valid conclusions (even though it is possible), but rather to gain insights and create explanations.

3.4.2 Sampling

The sample size in this research involved approximately 500 participants. Qualitative research sampling issues are also important, such as whom and how many should be included. The researcher used probabilistic sampling as a method, because of a large sample chosen for the research. A ‘surveymonkey’ questionnaire was used to gather data from over 500 respondents. A convenience sampling approach was adopted, where by current students were asked to put the questionnaire on their Facebook page and encourage friends and family to complete the questionnaire. Data was cleaned and analyzed using SPSS

3.4.3 Questionnaire Survey

An online questionnaire was conducted to gather information from clients from around the world. Reactions of all participants were measured and compared in order to reach results. The research focused mainly at students from different countries to help shade light on factors such as what motivates them to choose higher education destination. One of the advantages of gathering data through this method is because you get current information that offers results directly from the right target audiences. Moreover the participants will have the benefit when the researcher presents the solution after analyzing the information.

Question types in the survey comprise of various data types. These are simply direct questions and easy to answer as the interviewee just need to tick one box only. Questions based on the Likert scale using a five scale responses in which the central response is neutral were used in the questionnaire. The questionnaire was designed in such a way that the participants can respond both of their positive and negative answers. Questionnaire was executed online. The results obtained from the questionnaire were loaded on the SPSS to allow detailed analysis.

4.0 Analysis

4.1 When to Use Chi-Square Test for Independence

The experiment process used in this lesson is fitting when the following conditions are met:

  • Sampling model used in this analysis is simple indiscriminate sampling
  • Variable in this study are each categorical
  • In the event that statistics are displayed in a contingency table, the anticipated frequency counts for each table unit us at least 5.

This method includes stating the hypothesis, formulating the analysis schedule, evaluating data and interpreting outcomes.

4.2 Hypotheses

Incase Variable X has

Incase Variable X has r categories, and Variable Y has c categories. Null hypothesis then states that know the values of Variable Y does not in any way warrant you to predict the category of Variable Y.

H0: Variable X and Variable Y are independent.
Ha: Variable X and Variable Y are not independent.

The second hypothesis suggests that knowing the category of Variable X is likely to help you predict the category of Variable Y


4.3 Chi-Square Analysis


Chi-Square Tests
Value df Asymp. Sig. (2-sided)
Pearson Chi-Square 282.888a 212 .001
Likelihood Ratio 157.300 212 .998
N of Valid Cases 162
  1. 266 cells (98.5%) have expected count less than 5. The minimum expected count is .02.



In this analysis, the value exceeds the table value for the probability of 95% (p < 0.05). Implicitly the null hypothesis is rejected. This is to say students from different backgrounds willing to study in various universities has nothing to do with earning more money. The P value therefore suggests that the evident distribution was pegged on chance and nothing else.

4.4 T-test Analysis


One-Sample Statistics
N Mean Std. Deviation Std. Error Mean
People with similar backgounds to will be going to universities in this country. 163 3.4847 .88440 .06927
Earn more money. 627 3.9761 1.10086 .04396



One-Sample Test
Test Value = 0
95% Confidence Interval of the Difference
t df Sig. (2-tailed) Mean Difference Lower Upper
People with similar backgounds to will be going to universities in this country. 50.304 162 .000 3.48466 3.3479 3.6215
Earn more money. 90.439 626 .000 3.97608 3.8897 4.0624

The data shows a significant difference at p= 0.005 indicating that null hypothesis was correct. This means that samples are independent from each other, yet still portray a 0.005 probability of being wrong in reaching this conclusion. Principally the difference between means at the 95% level is rather highly significant. And that data used was accurate enough to support the conclusion with 95% confidence.

4.5 Correlation Analysis


Descriptive Statistics
Mean Std. Deviation N
Earn more money. 3.9761 1.10086 627
The social life of students in [Q11]’s universities is said to be excellent. 3.8524 .78461 332



Earn more money. The social life of students in [Q11]’s universities is said to be excellent.
Earn more money. Pearson Correlation 1 .189**
Sig. (2-tailed) .001
N 627 332
The social life of students in [Q11]’s universities is said to be excellent. Pearson Correlation .189** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .001
N 332 332
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).


The two variables demonstrate a significant relationship based on the fact that the Pearson correlation value is less than 5%.  This means that the likelihood to earn more money has a direct impact with the social life of students with respect to the universities they attend.



4.6 Country Preference Why USA, UK and Malaysia top the list


Bar Chart 1 Showing the Country Choice

Why USA &UK and Malaysia are popular

Despite a sample bias toward the United Kingdom, majority of respondents are dominated by the United States which represents the 1st choice. There’s also a substantial overlap in the reasons for choosing either UK or USA. Research as well as teaching tends to dominate all participants choice, despite of their country of origin. Again USA and UK are popular because they emphasize on a variety of educational opportunities. In other words, USA and UK universities provide students with opportunities to choose their preferred educational needs.                   However, 12 respondents would strongly agree that studying in USA or UK presents them with better prospects to get part time vocation, while 46 respondents disagree about this notion. 55 respondents strongly disagree that USA and UK has anything to do with enhancing their prospects for getting part-time jobs. At the same time 140 participants agree with the idea that studying abroad enhances the chances for getting part-time job. In the end, 45 respondents strongly agree with this notion.  On the other hand, Asian countries in particular Malaysia are popular as well. This is because it globally recognized as well as the country’s education system has good tertiary programs; Malaysia’s stability encourages different cultures to interact; competitive fees; and marketable vocational programs with global recognition.                                        According to the economy watch dated 2011, there were more Chinese students in the United States than India. However, the largest number of foreign students in US comes from India. Nonetheless, majority of Chinese students studying in the United States are Post Graduate, whereas 46% represented undergraduate students. By and large, research and teaching override all participant choice, despite of where they originate. Empirically, more Chinese learners got admission in USA universities then Indians.  Out of the 690, 923 international students that got admission in USA, about 128,000 students were Chinese.

4.7 Motivations of UK Undergraduates

Bar Chart 2:


According to the study, students prefer to study in UK over places like China and India because of the quality of education others prefer UK on personal grounds and ultimately enhance their career which is represented by a mean of 4. This could be due to the notion that international setting is marketable; that is many companies employ foreign graduates since they believe they have wide range of skills and experience. Respondents represented by a mean of 4 prefer UK over Taiwan because of academic standards. In addition, respondent represented by a mean of 3.3 choose overseas education on personal grounds. A group of respondents represented by a mean of 2.6 prefer studying abroad because of social reasons. According to the study, there are many reasons that motivate students to pursue overseas education irrespective of where they come from; this comprises exterior motivations, family influence, tenure related anticipations among others. When it comes to European students, career uncertainty, yet Indians are particularly concern with post graduate pursuits. In addition, students are rather motivated to pursue their post-graduate education internationally because of external encouragement, be it family, employment or career path expectations. Professional uncertainty is especially common amongst Indians.

Figure 1 Bar Chart

The Bar Charts demonstrates that majority of student are likely to choose to study abroad especially with scholarship to study in America, Britain and Australia.

5.0 Conclusion

Research findings demonstrate that thousands of students choose to study in western nations because they have some of the best facilities in the world, remarkable academic programs and many disciplines in comparison to other nations. They also have access to opportunities that allows them to fully participate in research and educational prospects. Undergraduate level has excellent academic programs in conventional and in professional disciplines. Other factors at play include parental motivations and personal satisfaction. In the end, Degrees from these institutions are widely acknowledged for their success. The study also determined that United States, United Kingdom and Malaysia in the Far East Asia are some of the most preferred destination for higher learning. USA is by far the most preferred destination followed by UK and Malaysia respectively. Higher institutions of learning in United Kingdom and United States put more emphasis on broad range academic prospects, practical skills, job-associated among others. In South East Asia, Malaysia stands out as the more preferred destination because of a robust and renowned education a system. A huge percentage of students simply want to move out from their home country and experience the world.

6.0 Appendix 1: Bar Chart

Appendix 2: Bar Chart 1 Showing the Country Choice

Appendix 3: Motivations of UK Undergraduates

7.0 References

Hussey, J., Hussey, R. (1997), Business Research, Macmillan, Basingstoke, US. Myers, M. D.      (1997), “Qualitative Research in Information Systems,” MIS Quarterly, Volume: 21,          Issue No: 2), pp. 241-242.

Gratton, C. and Jones, I. (2004), “Research Methods for Sport Studies”, Routledge and Taylor.

Lambert D. (1995). “Foreign Student Flows and the Internationalization of Higher Education.” In             International Challenges to American Colleges and Universities–Looking Ahead, ed.


Katherine H. Hanson and Joel W. Meyerson. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press and the American  Council on Education.
Nachmias, F. C. & Nachmias, D. (2000), “Research Methods in the Social Sciences”, Sixth                       Edition, Worth Publishers, U.S.A


Strauss, B., & Mang, P. (1999). Culture shocks in intercultural service encounters? Journal of        Service Marketing, 13.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2003), “Research Methods for Business Students”,      Third Edition, Prentice-Hall International, New Jersey.

Ridley, D (2004). Puzzling experiences in higher education: critical moments for conversation.                 Studies in Higher Education 29 (1). 91 – 107

Sharrock, G (2000). Why students are not (just) customers (and other reflections on Life After     George). Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 22 (2). 149 – 165

Reay, D, David, M and Ball, S (2001). Making a difference? Institutional habit uses and higher    education choice. Sociological Research Online 5 (4).

Tim Mazzarol, Geoffrey N. Soutar, (2002) ““Push-pull” factors influencing international student destination choice”, International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 16 Issue: 2,           pp.82 – 90


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