Third Country Study: The Role of Degree-Seeking International Students as Study Abroad Participants
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This thesis is exploratory in nature and examines the perspective of graduate and undergraduate matriculating international students at the University of Oregon as they consider, prepare for, reflect on, and participate- or not- in study abroad programs. The three-phase model design of this study assesses the opportunities, obstacles and resources international students experience as they consider or do not consider studying abroad by analyzing online survey responses from University of Oregon graduate and undergraduate international students; quantitative data sets; semi-structured interviews with University of Oregon graduate and undergraduate international students, as well as with staff members from the Office of International Affairs. International student areas of opportunities include receiving academic credit towards degree; practicing a language abroad; learning about new cultures; and developing new friendships. The challenges include difficulty in academic planning; limited financial resources; lack of family approval or support; and having to make difficult decisions between going abroad or visiting home. International student resources include major applicable coursework that is only open through specific study abroad programs; some available funding; and receiving practical support from staff members at the Office of International Affairs on campus. Recommendations include how international educators may be more inclusive and more sensitive to international students needs and challenges as they consider study abroad.