22 SES 11 C, Paper Session
Different social subsystems, such as higher education and the labor market, provide different responses to the challenges of globalization. In the case of higher education, this response can best be summarized in the concept of internationalization in relation to the labor market, concepts such as brain drain or brain circulation have emerged. The individual-level responses to these challenges are also remarkable: that is, to what extent and in what form individuals want to be involved in these processes. We wanted to examine, in the eastern region of the European Higher Educational Area, to what extent participation in international mobility programs fit into the future plans of university students, and to examine whether they think about taking a job abroad, during or after completion of their studies.
Student mobility is one of the chief visages of internationalization on the individual level, meaning that social inequalities, from this perspective, not only imply how students’ participation in studying abroad or the lack thereof will later influence their careers, but also that the conditions and possibilities surrounding said participation in student mobility differ. The authors herein would like to examine these differences, as well as the promoting factors in existence at the very birth of the mobility process, that is, at the planning stage.
We were curious to see what the respondents considered in their own lives, to be obstacles to pursuing studies abroad during their higher education in the future. In any case, we wanted to introduce student backgrounds, along with showing to what measure the family, as one of the most important fields for socialization, is a positive influence on study-abroad plans. From the results of many studies, it was found that having the appropriate foreign language proficiency is an essential to joining in on international academic cooperation. For this reason, we wanted to check how much this influences the plans of the examination participants. We surmised that other than the „hard” background indicators like the socio-cultural environment of the respondents’ families, or the language proficiency of students, there exist finer indicators and attitudes that can also affect those plans. For examining this, we created three indexes to find greater differences between those who plan to take part in international mobility and those who do not. Those indexes are: confidence in the university establishment, the skill of adaptation, and academic affinity.
Regarding working abroad, our approach was two-pronged: first, we were curious to see how important it was to those desiring to work abroad to be employed in a job connected to their specialization. Secondly, it interested us whether students were, in connection with working abroad, considering settling down short-term or permanently. In our study, we also desired to find out whether or not the academic area significantly affected the plans, during higher educational studies and after higher educational studies, to work abroad. According to earlier research we hypothesized that there would be certain disciplines like medicine or IT which are more „universal” and „translatable” to the international scene, thus there would be more from these areas who would seek work that matched with their majors. Considering that the effect of that country and its culture may be far greater upon the discipline’s examined subjects, others coming from areas not involving language majors, like social studies and humanities, are less „international”, thus they would not necessarily cling to a career opportunity based in or linked to their area of study. In examining which variables impact plans to work abroad, we expended the socio-demographical variables, language proficiency and the above mentioned three indexes.
For the analysis, we utilized the Debrecen University Center for Higher Education Research and Development’s PERSISTENCY database. In 2018 and 2019 2199 full-time, state-funded or fee-paying BA/BSc students in their 4th and 5th semester, as well as second-year students in the undivided programs from Hungarian, Romanian, Ukrainian and Serbian institutes were asked. They were not only students of Hungarian origin, but it is true that from the international sample predominantly students with Hungarian minority filled out the questionnaire. In our analysis we used a subsample, which included 851 students, all of them studying in Debrecen. We needed to focus only on this smaller, yet still sizeable, sample, since using the data from the neighboring countries as well, would have misled us in certain matters, like what international study experience actually means to a Hungarian living in Hungary and to a Hungarian from Transylvania. The number of responses from the aforementioned countries were also far fewer than those from Hungary, thus the comparison would have been more difficult to make. Since, in the case of international student mobility, the department, academic area, and major held great sway, we paid special attention to the comparability of the faculties. Thus, we excluded the faculties and institutions least willing to respond from the Hungarian sample. Thus 11 institutions remained: the Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Dentistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Economics and Business, Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Environmental Management, Faculty of Informatics, Faculty of Law, and the Debrecen Reformed Theological University. Due to the similarity in their training structure as well as in the peculiarities of the fields, in our analysis the Faculties of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmacy form one group. Thus, a total of 851 persons were brought into our analysis, having been reduced in this way to 8 groups in the sample. We integrated into our test demographical variables, and, two, created new variables through factor analyses and index preparation. With factor analysis, we grouped factors hindering participation in study abroad, while implementing as new indexed variables the combined variables measuring academic affinity, confidence in university establishment, and adaptability. In every case, we strived to include the multiple series of questions measured on the scale in the index. During the course of the study, we applied cross-tabulation, factor and regression analyses, analyses of variance, and correlation calculations.
Regarding travel plans for studying abroad, we can say with certainty that the father’s degree and the family’s objective financial state showed positive, significant relation, as well as that of the language proficiency measuring index. Of the latter, it can be said the proficiency of those with plans to study abroad was higher, and one must not forget the ties between foreign language skills and socio-demographic positioning. According to the attitude indexes, confidence in university establishment’s effect differed from department to department, being a supporting factor here, and a hindering factor there. The adaptation index showed positive connection, meaning that those who feel they adapt easier to foreign situations are usually more mobile. Aspiration toward an academic career was contrary to our preliminary assumptions, however, conveying that those who do not have plans to go abroad during their higher educational studies have higher academic affinity than those who do. Regarding plans to work abroad, the majority of respondents are immobile or not planning to work abroad, while those who did plan, rather clung to their majors and degrees. Students who planned to work abroad and clung to their areas of specialization came from the medical, economical, technical, and informatics areas. On the contrary, students from the humanities and social sciences branches held to their degrees least. When we examined plans to work abroad through a logistic regression analysis, we found that objective financial situation had a two-fold effect: first, better family finances incentivize toward mobility, ensuring the needed capital. Second, better student financial positioning makes it harder to go abroad, if the student has a life in his/her home country. Like study abroad, language proficiency has a strong effect on work, while contrary to our expectations, neither adaptation, nor the measure of academic affinity significantly affected plans to work abroad.
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