Publication Date

2006

Abstract

The University of California, Riverside (UCR) has a student body of approximately 15,000. White students are a minority, with Asian-American and Chicano/Latino students in the majority. 41% of UCR students are first-generation college students, or rather they are the first in their family to attend college. UCR has one of the lowest study abroad participation rates of all the UC campuses, and it may be attributed to the demographics of the student body. While some research has been done to examine influencing factors on the study abroad decision-making process for students of a racial minority, this research identifies the factors that influence a first-generation college student's decision whether to study abroad. Research was conducted in a grounded theory format, using a first generation college student's perspective for the conceptual framework. A survey was sent out via email to all UCR students who are studying abroad or who have studies abroad, as well as to students who had attended a information session on study abroad opportunities, but who had not necessarily completed the application process. Only first-generation college students were asked to complete the survey. While the factors influencing the students' decision to study abroad seemed to mirror those of any student choosing to go abroad, the factors influencing the students' decision not to study abroad were almost exclusively related to a lack of family support. This research is intended assist study abroad offices nationwide in boosting the recruitment of first-generation college students to programs abroad, and to help identify and eliminate obstacles deterring these students from exploring this unique opportunity.

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