Kristy Sue Berg


Sheehan, Eugene

Committee Member

Guzman, Tobias

Committee Member

Kimball, Michael

Committee Member

Larkins, Randy


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Leadership, Policy and Development: Higher Education and P-12 Education, Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership


University of Northern Colorado

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Greeley, (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



137 pages

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Born digital


Berg, Kristy Sue. Reasons for Choosing a Study Abroad Destination: A United States Student Perspective. Published Doctor of Philosophy dissertation, University of Northern Colorado, 2020. The number of U.S. students who study abroad has been rising for the past 60 years (Institute of International Education [IIE], 2010). Since the 2017/2018 academic year, U.S. college study abroad rose 2.7% over the 2016/17 academic year with approximately 341,751 students participating in a study abroad program (IIE, 2020e). One in 10 undergraduate students participates in a study abroad program before graduation (IIE, 2020e). Perceptions U.S. students have of other countries impact their choice of a host country. However, the actual reasons a student deems important might be equally valid for locations they might not have considered in the selection process. By examining perceptions and reasons U.S. students use to choose their study abroad host country, this study showed the selection of a host country was about more than academics. A student’s actual experience (whether positive or negative) in a host country was very likely different from how the student initially envisioned the experience (Beech, 2015). The purpose of this case study was to investigate U.S. college students’ choice of study abroad host country. Data were gathered through interviews with nine students who had studied abroad while earning academic credit and attended an accredited institution located in the Midwest region of the United States. Participants attended both public and private institutions. My findings showed considerable differences among U.S. students compared to the reasons the current literature stated were used by students from developing non-English speaking countries. The findings in my research indicated U.S. students wanted to explore another country’s culture. Some participants listed it as a reason why they chose their host country, many talked about how being more educated about a country would be influential to their decision, and several wanted the ability to be able to travel and explore their host country and neighboring countries while abroad. A commonality amongst several of the participants throughout the interviews was a lack of and/or need of more education about the destination. This topic could be of greater use if replicated in future research on a larger scale. Although this research was limited due to the restricted case, it is a beginning to gaining an understanding of our own students so as to better advise and better educate U.S. students who choose to study abroad.

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