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English, Rachael A. (2016) STUDY ABROAD IN AFRICA: UNDERSTANDING STUDENT MOTIVATION IN ORDER TO INCREASE ENROLLMENT. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The number of students who are studying abroad has been consistently increasing throughout the last several decades. However, a majority of those students are still choosing to study abroad in traditional destinations such as Western Europe, while few choose to study in nontraditional destinations such as Africa, Latin America, or the Middle East. The U.S. Congressional Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program and others have recognized the value of study abroad experiences in nontraditional destinations, calling for an increase in the number of students going to diverse destinations. Through this research, I seek to understand which factors motivate students to choose nontraditional locations, specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, as their study abroad destination. Using Mazzarol and Soutar’s (2002) push-pull model, I identify several motivating factors found in the existing literature that have encouraged students to choose specific study abroad destinations. I have conducted a survey of students who have previously studied abroad in Africa, and I have asked them to rank the importance of several of the motivating factors that were proposed in the literature. By understanding which of these motivating factors were most important to students who chose to study in Africa, we can better understand the decision-making process for students interested in nontraditional destinations.

The findings of this survey suggest that the students who are choosing to study abroad in Sub-Saharan Africa are academically focused students who want to do something unique that will set them apart from their classmates and peers. While some students may be initially motivated by touristic opportunities, these students are seeking immersion in a culture that is vastly different from their own, and they desire to engage with local people and learn local languages while abroad. In the Results and Discussion section of this paper, I outline several other factors that participants considered important, and I propose a list of recommendations for study abroad and African area studies professionals, identifying suggestions in order to increase enrollment in African study abroad programs.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
English, Rachael A.rae39@pitt.eduRAE390000-0003-1528-0749
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPorter, Maureen
Committee MemberBickel,
Committee MemberLelei, Macrina
Date: 26 January 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 December 2015
Approval Date: 26 January 2016
Submission Date: 10 January 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 98
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Study Abroad, Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, Education Abroad, Nontraditional Destinations, Study Abroad Decision-making, Study Abroad Motivation, Study Abroad Enrollment, Study Abroad Recommendations
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2016 17:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:31


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