Participation in higher education international experiences
: the role of habitus, rational cost-benefit analysis, and university based context

  • Greg Gundersen

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


As universities look to provide more access and increase the level of participation in their international education curricula, the focus on international experiences at home has intensified. However, extremely little research has been conducted on the factors associated with participation in these forms of experiences. The purpose of this study was to address this lack of research by identifying factors that influence university students’ participation in a broad scope of internationally-themed experiences. The study was designed to identify significant factors that indicate the influence of habitus, rational cost-benefit analysis, and the context of the student within the university on a student’s likelihood of participating in international experiences while at a university. Results from an on-line questionnaire survey of students at a large research university in the United States (n=422) were analysed through cross-tabulations and logistic regression analysis. The findings of this study indicate that the importance that students perceive participation has in achieving their goals, their participation in other cultural and travel experiences, their financial status, and their field of study are significantly associated with participation in international experiences. The findings support the work by Perna (2006), Salisbury et al. (2009), and Glaesser and Cooper (2013) that argue that habitus, rational action, and the context of the student within the university work in conjunction to influence a student’s educational choices and outcomes.Given that factors such as race, financial status, and field of study showed differing associations with the two outcomes of participation in abroad and at home international experiences, this study suggests that international at home experiences provide an opportunity for universities to establish international experiences that are more accessible to students that typically do not study abroad.
Date of Award26 Apr 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorAndrea Abbas (Supervisor) & Robin Shields (Supervisor)

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