Decisions, Decisions…
A New Model for Black and White Student Study Abroad Decision-making
Mya Fisher, University of Wisco...
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NAFSA 2012 poster

Published on: Mar 3, 2016
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Transcripts - NAFSA 2012 poster

  • 1. Decisions, Decisions… A New Model for Black and White Student Study Abroad Decision-making Mya Fisher, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Sociology RESEARCH OBJECTIVES This study aims to understand:  the similarities and differences in decision-making between study abroad participants, non-participants and Black and White students.  the relative import of factors that impact study abroad participation pathways METHODS AND ANALYSIS The data for this project comes from 506 originally designed, online questionnaires completed by students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 2009 – 2011; in addition to 35, one-on-one, in-depth, follow-up interviews with survey respondents. The online questionnaires included three open-ended questions: What comes to mind when you hear the term study abroad?  Do you think an international experience/study abroad is important for UW- Madison students? Why or Why not?  Do you intend to study abroad during your time at UW-Madison? Why or why not? I open-coded the responses using grounded theory analytical techniques. The resulting codes were organized into concept trees that produced four categories of participation ( – ) and the broad categories of relevance at three junctures (A – C) in the decision-making process. A unique feature of the interview tasked respondents to rank the categories of relevant factors and explain how they were personally meaningful as they contemplated study abroad participation. Analyses of data from these interviews reveal differences in relative importance and orientation toward the categories of relevant factors. Online Questionnaire Sample Interview Sample Personal Background Interest Non-Interest Intent No Intent  Non-interested, non-participants Race & Ethnicity # of Respondents # of respondents Major # of Respondents White 398 Female 275 School of Engineering 297 Black 39 Male 231 CALS 15 Latino 16 Total 506 Business 17 Native Am. 5 School of Education 16 Asian 25 Human Ecology 9 Other 23 College of Arts and Sciences 127 Total 506 School of Nursing 7 School of Pharmacy 1 Other 17 Total 506  Interested, Intenders  Interested, participants  Interested, non-participants Fisher (2012) Model of Study Abroad Decision-Making Academics (+, -) Relationships (+, -)Finances (+, -) Social Support (+, -) The College Experience (+, -)Campus/Community Commitments (-) Anxiety (-) FINDINGS SUMMARY  Different categories of factors impact study abroad participation at three distinct junctures in the decision-making process.  These categories are shared by Black and White students overall, yet their relative import and meaning in decision-making varies.  For example: Both Black and White students indicate money is an issue for their decision- making and that study abroad is expensive. However, their explanations as to what constitutes ‘too expensive’ and how finances shape their pursuit of study abroad vary along racial lines.  DOES RACE STILL MATTER?  Yes, but so does class. Black and White students experience and navigate the university context differently and their social networks (shaped by SES) both negatively and positively impact study abroad decisions. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS If we can understand processes and factors impacting how students make decisions to participate or not participate in study abroad, we can more effectively and efficiently recruit, advise and support our students. FUTURE RESEARCH PLAN This project represents original findings from data collected as part of my dissertation research (to be completed Aug. 2012). I am currently completing two articles using this data: (1) introducing the Fisher (2012) model for study abroad decision-making and (2) discussing the relationship between perceptions and how students engage with the idea of money in their study abroad deliberations. My next project involves geographically mapping study abroad destinations using individual level student demographic information to better understand destination choice and trends in why students go where they go when studying abroad. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This project would not have been possible with the support and assistance of my writing group who provided constructive feedback during the data collection, analysis, and writing stages of this long-term dissertation project. I’d also like to thank the undergraduate UW-Madison students who gave their time to complete the questionnaire and those who were willing to lend their voices to the interview. I greatly appreciate my colleagues and the students at Beloit College for inspiring critical questions during the analysis phase of this project. B A C Social Networks (+, -) Educational Attainment (+,-) Campus Integration (+,-) Anxiety (-) Academics (+, -) Relationships (+, -) Finances (+, -) Social Support (+, -) Anxiety (-) The Import and Relevance of Money WHITE BLACK Study Abroad is Too Expensive “I've been interested in it but I never considered it an option, mainly 'cause I just thought it was way too expensive. I always had this perception that this is something that rich kids do. That was very much my perception of it for a really long time that people from these rich families whose parents pay for all their school.” – David, Male, interested, non-participant “Just like how much it cost to study abroad, and I don’t know. Just kind of a little worried about if it’s going to be too much. […] Yeah. I’m not too worried about it. It wouldn’t prevent me from going, but I just want to keep that in mind and not totally dismiss that, you know? ”– Frances, Female, Interested-intender A Magic Number? “It wasn’t a huge consideration […] my parents helped me with tuition so it wasn’t a huge factor. I knew it was going to be either a little bit less or the same and then I guess I knew it wasn’t going to be some extravagant cost, like it wasn’t going to be thousands and thousands of dollars more. […] if it was more expensive, I probably still would have gone. - Allison, Female, interested-participant “ I think anything that I have to spend over $10,000, that would be the breaking point. I would try to stay away from loans as much as possible […] I took for applying to college trying to get as many scholarships as possible stay away from loans. – Dawn, Female, interested-intender “Hey, a little $5000, if I have to go that far, for some study abroad, that’s ok.’ You know what I’m saying? At the same time, I’d rather not have to pay, though, at the same time.” – Elisha, Male, interested – intender Access to financial resources “Yeah, I mean, I’m not going to lie, my parents pay for my tuition, so they paid for it. [laughs] I paid for all the traveling and anything extra I did, not like the academic portion [using] saved-up money, from working —since 11, babysitting and real jobs and everything.” – Amanda, Female, interested, participant “[…] Well I'm white and middle-class so I consider myself fairly traditional. The only difference is I don't get any help and never have from my parents for school, so I've always had to do it myself. So in that way I don't, 'cause I've always worked full-time.” – David, Male, interested- non-participant “[Finances] didn’t really play a big role because my parents knew I always wanted to go abroad and they were willing to pay for it. They’re paying for me in college right now. So, had I even been getting financial aid, that would have transferred there. So, pretty much, my parents were willing to pay for it because they knew I wanted to go and they wanted me to travel and they’re paying for college so they were paying for me abroad or at college. Either way, they were paying.” – Bari, Female, interested-participant “Well I guess since [during the] summer I don't usually have to pay for anything [because] I’m home; so if it came more than like $10,000 it would be a no. I guess more than $10,000 […] no. [Plus] my dad's really big on loans, no loans no loans.” – Gleanza, Female, no interest - non-participant “I mean, if I could find a loan for it—then I’d make it happen. […] loans wouldn’t deter me from going.” – Elisha, Male, interested – intender “Ultimately, I’ll tell someone you can take out the loan, somebody will pay them off later, either you or a great job. But money is very important. Every time, I’ve gone to China, I wondered will I have enough money?” – Alicia, Female, interested- participant Participation Classification Scheme Interested, Intenders Study abroad is important, I intend to go abroad while at UW Interested, Participants I have studied abroad Interested, Non-participants Study Abroad is important, Have not previously studied abroad Do not intend to go study abroad Non-interested, non-participants Study abroad is not important, I do not intend to participate Participation Category Black White Other Minority Interested, Intenders 7 3 1 Interested, Participants 4 8 1 Interested, Non-participants 1 3 0 Non-interested, non-participants 2 3 2 Total 14 17 4 35

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