Our research project investigates the underlying personal and institutional factors influencing the willingness of university students to study abroad. We will also determine whether this mobility (or these different stages of national and international mobility) will have an effect on future occupational choices and career success. The study of mobility of students is a common area of research, which attempts to identify and analyze the factors that influence the decisions to go abroad – or not to. However, the results of these studies have been inconsistent. For this reason, we are interested in researching the specific personal and institutional factors that trigger or hinder the mobility of students. We focus on the interaction of personal background and personal intentions as well as the institutional supply of universities to go abroad. We will also check for sorting effects in university and location selection.
In sum, the questions raised in this research project are how international mobility of students can be fostered during their studies, how universities of every size can offer students optimal choices, and if and how national and international mobility experiences influence future labour market success.
The aim of our project is to understand why some students go abroad while others do not and how this affects their future success in the job market. Awareness about the factors that hinder or foster the decisions to go abroad can help universities and individuals overcome current problems in this area, and motivate students into acquiring more international orientation and mobility. This is important because international experience and mobility is presently considered to be essential for career success on the one hand, and on the other hand, essential for companies seeking to acquire sufficient and experienced employees in an increasingly globalized environment.
We choose a mixed method approach. The first stage will entail expert interviews with specialists at universities and in institutions dealing with student exchange programs and expatriation. This will be followed by interviews with students from various German and international universities about their international mobility behaviours, challenges, personally perceived advantages and disadvantages as well as their subjective benefits. At the third stage, we will develop a questionnaire based on the interview results. The questionnaire will be sent out to alumni in order to determine the push or pull factors behind international mobility during and after studying and how going or not going abroad affects the future employment choices and success. We will supplement the project with available data from the universities, as well as secondary data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) and from the Higher Education Information System (HIS).
Prof. Dr. Petra Moog
Dr. Knut Petzold
Dipl.-Kffr. Tamara Peter
M. Sc. Sven Wolff
Project Sponsors: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) (German Federal Ministry of Education and Research),
Focus: “Higher Education Research”,
Chair for Business Administration, Entrepreneurship and Family Business, University of Siegen
June 2011 – May 2014