Master of Arts (MA)
Semester of Degree Completion
Russell E. Gruber
The motivational factors among students who have completed a study abroad program or who are currently studying abroad were investigated. Several variables were explored including gender, age, major and whether the student was an international student who has studied or is currently studying in the United States from another country or an American student who has studied or is currently studying in another country. Two hypotheses were tested: 1) American students are more likely motivated to study abroad by cultural motives such as sightseeing and gaining awareness about a different culture, and 2) International students are more likely motivated to study abroad by academic motives such as taking classes that are not offered in his or her country. Seventy students completed a questionnaire to determine what factors motivated them to participate in a study abroad program. Of the participants, 37 participants were American students who participated in a study abroad program, and 33 participants were currently studying in the United States from another country. Participants were recruited via networking through students who have completed study abroad programs, professors who coordinated study abroad programs, and an organization for international students at Eastern Illinois University. Significant findings support both hypotheses. American students rated adventure seeking and a desire to gain an awareness of another culture as the most motivating factors for studying abroad. Escape and learning about one's family of origin were rated least motivating by the American participants. Likewise, international students ranked a desire to develop a sense of identity and to gain or achieve a greater sense of independence as the most motivating factor to study abroad. The least motivating factor for international students to study in the United States was to learn about the country from where their family originated. It was also found that when rating the participants' overall study abroad experience, American students were more satisfied with the overall experience of studying abroad than the international students. Implications of these findings as well as the limitations of the study and suggestions for further research are discussed.
Buesing, Wendy M., "Motivation for Studying Abroad" (2004). Masters Theses. 1329.