Rethinking Study Abroad: Academic Exchange in Developing Countries and the Case for Nigeria
Oduwa, Uwa E.
Garcia, D. Linda
Most of the research that pertains to study abroad focuses heavily on students, but not professionals who work in the field of international education. This thesis argues that a different perspective is useful to understand the growing trend of students who are studying abroad in developing or nontraditional countries, a different perspective is useful. Specifically, the study examines how international education professionals in the United States assess the qualities of successful study abroad programs in a developing country. Nigeria is used as a case study because this nation, despite its recent economic growth, hosts very few study abroad students from the U.S. each year, compared to other developing countries. The field of international education lacks a unified theory. As such, this research combines literatures from the fields of globalization, migration, networks, cosmopolitanism, competitive advantage and branding to frame the research and analysis. To answer the research questions, a multi-method approach was employed. Participants completed an online survey questionnaire or were interviewed based on their expertise in the field of international education. Additionally, a case study on Nigeria's higher education and cultural environment was included as part of the data collection. The major findings of this research indicate that mitigating risk and ensuring safety for students is important. Additionally, input from faculty members is a key element that influences the development of new study abroad programs in developing countries. This thesis addresses several implications for study abroad in Nigeria, given the globalized and growing international education market. This thesis concludes that a country's overall reputation matters and further suggests that developing countries benefit from prominent faculty members building more connections with other academics from first world universities.
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