Publication Date

1999

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to identify methods of improving the effectiveness of marketing materials developed by Youth For Understanding (YFU) International Exchange to recruit students of color. The study involved 1) research to determine the factors which motivate students of color to study abroad, 2) their assessment of printed marketing and recruitment materials, and 3) analysis of the data vis-à-vis a marketing communication model. Methodology for this study included secondary research in the fields of communication models, marketing segmentation, motivations for study abroad, and recruitment of students of color for overseas study. Primary research was conducted with students of color collectively, it was not segmented according to specific racial/ethnic classifications, e.g. African-American, Asian American, Native American, Hispanic. A questionnaire was administered to garner initial opinions of printed YFU marketing materials, and focus groups were conducted to elicit explanation regarding student motivations for study abroad. Questionnaire results demonstrated that, most often, YFU students first heard about exchange opportunities through interpersonal communication in academic settings. Printed materials were most helpful in students' decisions to apply for exchange programs. Focus group responses from students of color indicated several motivations for study abroad: travel, learning about new cultures, family homestay, improving language skills, meeting new people, and self-determination. This study found that for students of color the decision to study abroad was influenced more by being a teenager (age, value system, and school) than by race and/or ethnicity. Based on these findings, this study recommends creating inclusive printed marketing materials rather than developing ethnicity and/or race specific recruitment materials.

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