A survey of over 200 students from public and private HEIs in the US found 72% are interest in studying abroad, with over 60% planning on pursuing a traditional semester abroad in the spring of 2024.
The research, by global engagement education technology provider Terra Dotta, also found that with 70%, western Europe remains the most popular destination for US students studying abroad.
“This year’s survey confirmed that we are back to a familiar pre-Covid-19 study abroad landscape,” Terra Dotta’s CEO, Anthony Rotoli, told The PIE News.
“Students are eager to travel – even more so given the pandemic’s impact on travel and other milestones they may have missed out on – but cost and accessibility are limiting factors.”
The overwhelming majority of respondents (80%) indicated personal growth and a desire to travel as primary reasons for their interest in study abroad programs. According to the survey, “Students feel studying abroad will give them unique, world perspectives and exposures they would not have if they didn’t participate”.
However, Rotoli stated that cost remains the biggest hinderance to participation and needs to be addressed by institutions.
“The survey reveals a real need for more financial support and program education to impart the long-term career readiness value for potential student travelers,” Rotoli said.
“The survey reveals a real need for more financial support”
Both interested students (84%) and those who did not plan to study abroad (34%) cited cost as the top prohibitive factor and wished institutions would provide more information about financial aid via email, websites, or through in-person meetings with professors.
In addition to financial barriers, physical and mental health were noted as hinderances to study abroad participation.
Survey participants sought more information about study abroad programs in general (30%) as well as virtual internship options (44%). Terra Dotta noted that offering both virtual and in-person programming can address the issue of access in study abroad.
The need for earlier engagement was also a key finding in the survey, with 45% of students expressing that they became interested in the idea of studying abroad in high school. In fact, 57% said it played a role in their college selection.
Rotoli agreed, telling The PIE, “Institutions that engage students and parents earlier in the student lifecycle have an opportunity to help grow the number of students who study abroad and ensure they have the resources to take advantage of this invaluable student success factor.”