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The Advantages Of Studying Abroad Education Essay

The development of the society is going towards a globalised world where the social, cultural and traditional differences between people are becoming less distinguishable. One of the key factors which has largely influenced in the development of people’s way of understanding and analysing social and cultural values is education which has taken an important place in the new century. Education is an essential foundation for personal, social and economic success in a globalised economy (OECD 2008). International studies are becoming the new trend of young people as a way to expend their education beyond their traditional education style and their everyday world (Spiering and Ericson 2006). Johnson and Mulholland (2006) consider international education as an opportunity to increase the awareness of the people about the culture of the world which can contribute in creating individuals with a broader understanding of issues concerning today’s society rather than limiting them in the scope of home educational system. In this point of view, studying abroad students gain the opportunity to learn more about world affairs and increase their acceptance of other countries regardless of the differences in culture or language.

Moreover studying in a foreign directly benefits in learning a new language. Pellegrino (1997) argues that study abroad is one of the most effective ways of becoming proficient in a new language. Students who chose to spend a certain amount of time in a country the language they are willing to learn is spoken, have the opportunity to interact with native speakers a fact which would directly influence in the improvement of their linguistic and sociolinguistic skills to achieve real communicative goals, and to experience the tangible and visible manifestations of the culture of the country (Pellegrino 1997). Individuals who have studied abroad in foreign language often demonstrate cognitive development, creative thinking which surpass the abilities of individuals who have educational experiences of their home country only (Kinginger 2007).

One of the reasons why studying abroad is becoming more important nowadays considering the effects of globalization, is the international job market. Qiang (2003) observes that there is a significant increase in the number of recruitments regarding the international workforce due to globalization process which has caused the education system, especially higher education, not to be strictly viewed in the national context. Mpinganjira (2009) analyses that the need of being competitive in the international job market has influenced many students to look to opportunities to enhance their career prospects through acquiring high quality education with qualifications that are recognised worldwide.

OBJECTIVES

The aim of this study is to analyse the advantages of studying abroad from the students point of view and to propose some new ways of thinking for students when evaluating the possibility of studying in a foreign country. The hypothesis to be studied is: students in the Southern and Eastern Europe think that high quality of studies can only be achieved through studying in a Western country. In addition the primary and secondary research will attempt to identify some of the factors that influence in the choice of students regarding their studies.

Some of the major objectives of this study are:

The guiding factors for young people toward choosing a university abroad rather than going in a local university

How important is the financial situation in deciding to study in a foreign university

What role plays the learning a new language in deciding in which university to go

Identify the opinion of students about the influence that a period of studies would have in their personal life and future career

MATERIALS AND METHODS

The research process was divided into two major parts which contributed in the collection and analyze of the data. The first part included secondary data collection from different sources related to the subject of research. Some of this sources are used in the paper in order to explain different facts regarding to the topic. The second part consisted of primary data collection through a survey which was designed in accordance to the characteristics of the population it was intended for (see Appendices Survey). The survey was distributed to young people (high school and college students) in Korca, Albania by e-mail. It resulted in 25 respondents out of 50 actually delivered or 50% response rate. In order to increase the number of respondents the survey was redistributed to students in Perrotis College completing the intended number of respondents, 50.

After the data were collected Microsoft Excel was used in order to organize the data in tables. Afterwards the data were imported to JMP 8 statistical software where the data were analyzed using tables, charts and other statistical analyses figures.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Characteristics of the population

From the analyse of the data using JMP 8 the characteristics of the population were identified. Table 1 contains the full characteristics of the population and the responses retrieved from the survey.

No. of partecipants

Gender

Factors in deciding where to study

Would you go to study abroad

Why foreign university

Advantages of foreign universities

Western Universities offer quality

16

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

personal experience

yes

17

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

quality of studies

yes

18

male

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

quality of studies

most likely

19

male

Quality

Quality

Couldn’t study in my country

Language proficiency

yes

20

male

Quality

Quality

Couldn’t study in my country

Language proficiency

yes

21

male

Quality

Quality

Couldn’t study in my country

personal experience

yes

22

male

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

quality of studies

yes

23

male

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

quality of studies

yes

24

male

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

quality of studies

yes

25

male

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

multicultural experience

most likely

26

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

multicultural experience

yes

27

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

personal experience

most likely

28

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

multicultural experience

most likely

29

male

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

quality of studies

yes

30

male

Cost

Cost

Excellent experience

Language proficiency

yes

31

male

Cost

Cost

Excellent experience

multicultural experience

yes

32

female

Location

Location

Excellent experience

personal experience

yes

33

female

Location

Location

More opportunities

quality of studies

most likely

34

female

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

quality of studies

yes

35

female

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

quality of studies

yes

36

female

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

multicultural experience

yes

37

female

Location

Location

Couldn’t study in my country

personal experience

yes

38

female

Quality

Quality

Excellent experience

Language proficiency

yes

39

female

Quality

Quality

More opportunities

multicultural experience

most likely

40

female

Cost

Cost

More opportunities

multicultural experience

most likely

Distributions

Age

Age of Respondents

Figure 1

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

17 - 18

9

0.18000

18 - 20

11

0.22000

20 - 22

22

0.44000

22 - 24

5

0.10000

above 24

3

0.06000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

5 Levels

Figure 1 illustrates the age characteristics of the sample involved in the survey. As it is shown the majority of the respondents belonged in the age group of 20 – 22 years old which corresponds to the first year of college for many countries.

Gender

Distribution of the sample by Gender

Figure 2

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

female

19

0.38000

male

31

0.62000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

2 Levels

From figure 2 gender characteristics can be understood. The research has been directed to 50 individuals where 62 % or 31 of the respondents were males while 38% or 19 respondents belonged to female gender.

Factors in deciding where to study

Important factors which influence the students when choosing where to study.

Figure 3

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

Cost

11

0.22000

Location

3

0.06000

Quality

36

0.72000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

3 Levels

The above figure summarises some of the most important factors which influence the young people by the most when making a decision about the university they are going to be attending. As shown the most important factor in student’s opinion, is the quality of studies that a university offers or the fame of the university.

Would you go to study abroad

The student’s willingness to study abroad

Figure 4

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

I don't know

22

0.44000

No

2

0.04000

Yes

26

0.52000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

3 Levels

When asked about their willingness to continue their studies in a foreign university 52% of the students answered that they would chose a university outside their home country for their studies while, 44% of them answered that their choice would depend on the characteristic of the universities they would go in their country. This part of the questioned sample would go for studies abroad only if the universities in their country would not offer the preferred characteristics for the students. Only 4% of the students answered that they are not considering at all the possibility of studying in a foreign country.

Why foreign university

Reasons for choosing a foreign university

Figure 5

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

Couldn's study in my country

11

0.22000

Exellent experience

18

0.36000

More opportunities

21

0.42000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

3 Levels

The majority of the students think that foreign universities offer more opportunities for their future career, therefore, they would go to study abroad. The other part of the students consider studying abroad as an excellent experience in their lives. On the other hand, the minority of the questioned students would go in a foreign university only if they wouldn’t be able to study in their preferred university in their countries.

Advantages of foreign universities

Advantages of studying abroad

Figure 6

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

Linguage proficiency

5

0.10000

multicultural experience

18

0.36000

personal experience

11

0.22000

quality of studies

16

0.32000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

4 Levels

Regarding to the advantages that the foreign universities offer compared with studying experiences in the home countries, students are approximately equally divided regarding to what they think are the advantages of studying abroad. 36% of the students consider the multicultural aspect of the studies as the most important factor on studying in a foreign university while 32% emphasise the quality of studies in other countries as the main aspect. Also the possibility of personal experiences and opportunity to know yourself better are very important in student’s evaluation for a university. While the opportunity of learning a new language proficiently is less important.

Financial implications of studies

Student’s opinion about the impact of costs associated with studying abroad

Figure 7

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

Agree

14

0.28000

Dissagree

1

0.02000

Don't know

8

0.16000

Strongly agree

27

0.54000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

4 Levels

The biggest part of the students strongly agreed that the cost of studying in a foreign university plays an important role in deciding to go for studies abroad or not.

Western Universities offer quality

Do western universities offer better quality?

Figure 8

Frequencies

Level

Count

Prob

most likely

12

0.24000

yes

38

0.76000

Total

50

1.00000

N Missing

0

2 Levels

When asked if they think that universities in the Western Europe offer a better quality compared with universities in their own countries, the majority of students, 76% agreed that the universities in the west offer more opportunities for a high quality of studies, while, 24% of them answered that they were not sure on this statement. There were no students to disagree.

Contingency Analysis of Western Universities offer quality By Home Country

Mosaic Plot

Contingency Table

Home Country By Western Universities offer quality

Count

Total %

Col %

Row %

most likely

yes

Albania

6

12.00

50.00

19.35

25

50.00

65.79

80.65

31

62.00

Bulgaria

0

0.00

0.00

0.00

2

4.00

5.26

100.00

2

4.00

FYROM

3

6.00

25.00

50.00

3

6.00

7.89

50.00

6

12.00

Greece

1

2.00

8.33

12.50

7

14.00

18.42

87.50

8

16.00

Moldova

1

2.00

8.33

50.00

1

2.00

2.63

50.00

2

4.00

Turkey

1

2.00

8.33

100.00

0

0.00

0.00

0.00

1

2.00

12

24.00

38

76.00

50

Tests

N

DF

-LogLike

RSquare (U)

50

5

3.7635068

0.1366

Test

ChiSquare

Prob>ChiSq

Likelihood Ratio

7.527

0.1843

Pearson

7.710

0.1730

Discussion

In the table above can be observed that the model constraint by the hypothesis has a log-likelyhood of 3.763 while the ChiSquare has a non significant p-value of 0.1843.

The hypothesis risen in the beginning that “Student from Eastern and Southern Europe think that high quality of studies can only be achieved through studying in a Western country” is supported by the values given form the contingency analysis. Therefore the hypothesis is accepted.

CONCLUSION

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