Research digest for practitioners: May 2017

Research digest for practitioners: May 2017

This month’s Journal of Studies in International Education addresses topics from Germany and Portugal to Iraq to Korea and Malaysia. Articles focus in on the subject of student mobility and address such topics as the push-pull factors of international students, discrimination of mobile students, perceived risks of studying abroad, national evolution of student mobility, and low rates of student mobility in specific programmes. The main aim of the research digest is to bridge research with practice. We hope this blog serves as a teaser to entice you to explore the articles in more depth.

Motivations of Government Sponsored Kurdish Students for Pursuing Postgraduate Studies Abroad: An Exploratory Study

By: Ahmad Bayiz Ahmad, Hemin Ali Hassan, and Mustafa Wshyar Abdulla Al-Ahmedi

In 2010, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq launched a scholarship programme known as the Human Capacity Development Program (HCDP). Annually, US100 million dollars is awarded, allowing Kurdish students the opportunity to pursue their postgraduate studies abroad. Over 90% of the students in the HCDP selected the UK, US, or Australia as their preferred study destination. The research questions ask:

  • What motivates Kurdish students to study abroad?
  • How do students make their decisions regarding the final destination choice?

Using a mixed-methods approach, a survey was employed and interviews were conducted. The findings show that many Kurdish students were motivated to study abroad by the possibilities for career advancement, the high quality of education overseas and the opportunities for cultural enrichment. The top reasons for selecting the final destination included obtaining a world recognized qualification, world-class educational system, and English language improvement.

Integrating International Student Mobility in Work-Based Higher Education: The Case of Germany

By: Lukas Graf, Justin J. W. Powell,  Johann Fortwengel, and Nadine Bernhard

In Germany, dual-study programmes bring together higher education studies with practical training, combining classroom knowledge with workplace skills. Dual programmes continue to increase in number as the need for workplace-ready graduates are needed for the labour market. Yet, despite this increase, student mobility in these programmes is low. Through 10 expert interviews, this study explores the barriers to studying abroad in dual programmes. The authors make recommendations including expanding student mobility databases, creating a network for all actors in dual programmes to share information and to address barriers to studying abroad, and exploring a funding system to support student mobility. In addition, more cooperation between higher education institutions and firms may facilitate more student mobility.

Exploring Perceived Risk and Risk Reduction Strategies in the Pursuit of Higher Education Abroad: A Case of International Students in Malaysia

By: Jason M. S. Lam, David Yoon Kin Tong, and Ahmad Azmi M. Ariffin

International students deciding where to study take on a certain level of risk, leading to fears and anxieties. This study explores the causes and influences of perceived risks experienced by international students in Malaysia. Furthermore, the research considers the relationship between perceived risks and risk reduction techniques. First interviews were conducted to identify perceived risks, then a questionnaire collected additional data. There were seven factors of perceived risk identified including security, financial, and social. Respondents reported that seeking information from the relevant authorities, a sufficient savings plan, well organised study plan, and seeking advice from friends and family helped in reducing perceived risks.

Circulating East to East: Understanding the Push–Pull Factors of Chinese Students Studying in Korea

By: Se Woong Lee

The number of Chinese students choosing Korea as a study destination is on the rise. This study investigates why Chinese students choose to study in Korea, specifically focusing in on the push-pull factors. Push factors influence the student to leave their home country to study elsewhere. On the other hand, pull factors attract students to study in a specific destination country. Interviews with Chinese students and a survey revealed distinct push-pull factors. One of the most influential push factors was the fierce competition in Chinese higher education admissions. Some of the influential pull factors included selectivity of the institution, parents’ and friends’ recommendations, job market vision and lower costs to studying abroad.

Neo-Racism and Neo-Nationalism Within East Asia: The Experiences of International Students in South Korea

By: Jenny Lee, Jae-Eun Jon, and Kiyong Byun

This study examines the experiences of international students studying in South Korea and compares non-Asian student experiences with Chinese student experiences. To collect data, a mixed methods approach employed both an online survey and interviews with Chinese students. The findings further develop the theoretical framework of neo-racism which is considered to be a new form of racism in the evolving global society wherein negative attitudes about particular regions of the world and different races lead to discrimination. However, this does not explain hostility of others within the same region, such is the case in Korea with other Asian students studying there. Evidence supports neo-racism as Asian students reported discrimination and unfair treatment more than other students, especially those students from the West. Adding to the theory of neo-racism, the study also finds neo-nationalism plays out as anti-Chinese sentiments lead to verbal aggressions, challenges securing housing and more.

Student Mobility in Portugal: Grappling with Adversity

By: Cristina Sin, Orlanda Tavares and Guy Neave

The Bologna Process was initiated in Portugal in 2006. A decade later, this study focuses in on the evolution of Portuguese student credit mobility and if it follows Bologna’s policy goals, specifically the 2020 mobility target of 20%. More specifically, the researchers explore the factors shaping the evolution. National statistics, Erasmus statistics, and focus group data serve as evidence. The findings illuminate that Portugal is an importer country, bringing in more credit mobility students than sending them out. Incoming students are attracted to study in Portugal due to the location, climate and leisure opportunities. Outgoing students are driven to study elsewhere because of employability prospects and the high unemployment rate in Portugal. The main obstacles to outgoing mobility include financial stress and curricular inflexibility at the home institution.

Leasa Weimer is Knowledge Development Adviser at the EAIE.

Leasa Weimer
EAIE, the NetherlandsLeasa is Senior Adviser for Knowledge Initiatives for the EAIE.