Publication Date

Winter 2014

Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Raymond Young

Abstract

This study investigates the gender imbalance in study abroad programming, focusing on the question of whether there are barriers specific to men in the decision to study abroad and exploring how men overcome these barriers. The research question is viewed through the framework of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), arguing that physiological, safety, and relationship needs must be met before a student can feel confident in their decision to study abroad. Data is gathered through an online survey of students expressed interest in study abroad by attending information sessions but ultimately decided not to go on a program and through interview with male study abroad alumni at the University of New Hampshire. Findings for the survey show that both men and women place equal importance on the biggest issues of program cost and a concern for a delay in their graduation, with the only significant difference showing up through men’s inability to study abroad due to judiciary issues on campus. Findings for the interviews show that men’s desire to fulfill Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs trumping concerns over the physiological, safety, and relationship needs, and that these students had long held the desire to study abroad. The results reveal that the decision to study abroad is not governed by a clear progression up Maslow’s pyramid, but rather a complex interplay of factors. By using this data, college and universities gain greater insight into what drives men to study abroad and can gain better knowledge on how to appeal to this specific demographic.

Disciplines

International and Comparative Education

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