study abroad

Study abroad survey results: part 2

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Following on from part 1, this post covers the pre-departure section of my Tajik study abroad paper. This part looks at WHY respondents wanted to study abroad

Pre-departure motivations and perceptions

Push-pull factors

Respondents were asked to choose one or more reasons (from a pre-determined selection) to explain why they were motivated to study abroad, and the results are shown in figure 3. These are all either push or pull factors, i.e. something that stimulates a student to study away from Tajikistan or something that attracts them to study in another country.  Chirkov et al (2008) summarise these factors through two goals:

  • Preservation: motivated by the push factor of being forced to leave one’s home country to avoid adverse situations
  • Self-determination: a pull factor of wishing to obtain a better education and further one’s career prospects

Push factors in figure 3 include the availability of subjects abroad that are not offered in Tajikistan and the desire to remain overseas temporarily or permanently. Although corruption in the Tajik higher education system was not given as a choice in this question, a number of respondents refer to it in other free text questions:

“The thing is Tajik education is very corrupted, therefore being a part of different type of education will boost my perspectives for [a] future career in international fields!” – male, age not stated

“…in Tajikistan the educational system is so corrupt that you would never ever be able to tell whether you are making progress or not. Even if you try to be a good student, you won’t be able to progress because of the unfair educational system and lack of good teachers.” – female, 26

Pull factors in figure 3 include, as with the Chirkov et al study, the desire to improve one’s academic knowledge and one’s career prospects. Richters and Teichler call this ‘vertical mobility’ (in De Wit et al, , 2008), whereby students move from countries or institutions of lower academic quality to those of higher quality. This is reflected in the following free text response:

“I chose to study abroad primarily thinking that better education allows getting [a] better job in the future internationally. Particularly, in the view of great scepticism that exists in regard to Tajik education overseas. Secondly, I was happy to study abroad because I could study what I want and the way I want it, not following the prescribed subjects that sometimes you are not interested [in].” male, 32

The high number of responses to the two pull factors noted above – over three quarters of all respondents selecting both – demonstrate that for Tajik nationals, pull factors are substantially more compelling motivations for individual decision-making than push factors.

Figure 3: Answers to the question ‘What were the reasons that you wanted to study abroad?’


Perceived changes to self

The survey asked respondents to provide a free text response to a question about how they thought that studying abroad would change them, i.e. what their perceptions were prior to leaving the country. Using Schweisfurth and Gu’s analysis of international students in the UK (October 2009), the responses were coded into three categories with an added category of ‘other’ where respondents suggested they did not expect to change, hadn’t thought about the issue of change, or perceived it would be difficult.

  1. Cross-intercultural experiences (C)
  2. Human development (H)
  3. Intellectual development (I)
  4. Other  (O)

These categories were often combined, as some of the quotes below show:

 “I thought that coming back to my home country, I will have different approaches to many things. For instance to learning, making [a] career, building my future, family relationships, viewing my children’s future, academic career…” – male, age not stated

 “I knew that studying abroad in university at age 18 is the first step to an adult life. I knew the life without my parents will make me more independent, responsible and simply make me grow up….” – female, 18

 “My expectations were/are high and I always thought that I would be better with the education I would get abroad. It is better to study abroad and get [a] degree rather than wasting my time here in Tajikistan…” – male, 25

“I didn’t want to go – I had it good in Dushanbe [capital of Tajikistan]. But my parents thought that the society is decaying with a dreadful system of education” – male, 24

181 codings were recorded from 100 valid responses, an average of 1.8 per person. These are shown in figure 4, and correlate to the trend seen in figure 3 where the two most popular responses were also connected to better career prospects and improved education/academic knowledge.

Figure 4: Codings of free text responses to the question ‘Before you started studying abroad, how did you think that study abroad would change you?’

Well-being in Central Asia conference

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Guten tag aus Berlin! I’m here for a conference hosted by the German Institute for Economic Research, joining 14 other researchers who are presenting on various subjects related to well-being in Central Asia.

Humboldt University Berlin

The first day of the conference was hosted yesterday at Humboldt University in central Berlin. As an aside, it’s hugely exciting for a higher education geek (me!) to be at the university named after the man who had such a strong influence on higher education. Teichler has divided the development of higher education into three phases: from the development of medieval universities (Bologna, Paris, Oxford etc), to a major period of change in the 19th century, through to the massification of the system post-World War 2. The Humboldtian model propounding unity of teaching and research was hugely influential in the second period of development.

OK, that’s enough of a history lesson! Let’s move on to the conference itself.

Conference about to start
Conference about to start

Things kicked off with a keynote speech by Nauro Campos of Brunel University/DFID. He pointed out that research on the “economics of happiness” is very much in vogue, although as a field it has been slowly developing since the 1970s. In transition countries, i.e. those which have undergone the change from being part of the Soviet Union to being post-Soviet independent countries, it’s bad news: there is “abnormally low life satisfaction in transition countries”. People are unhappy for age-related reasons (for example, because social safety nets such as health and pensions are dissolving), because there is rising income inequality and this generates unfairness, due to inequality of opportunity, and because of increased uncertainty.

The presentations that followed afforced this theory through examinations of case study populations and/or data sets. For example, Barbara Dietz of the Institute for East European Studies in Regensburg (Germany) noted that internal migration in Kazakhstan has no significant impact on wage levels. Even if someone’s salary has gone up, their expenditure is likely to have increased on higher rents and living costs.

Tobias Kraudzun of Free University Berlin (Germany) presented his group’s research into pastoralists in Murghab in the far east of Tajikistan. They found “dramatic de-development” of the region after the break up of theSoviet Union. For example, 68% of households in Murghab have monetary income of less than 400 somoni (about $20) per month, which means that the majority of people have difficulties earning a livelihood sufficient to meet their basic needs.

Migration was a major theme underlying many of the presentations. Kraudzun noted the attitudes of young people in Murghab were more open to moving away from the region for educational purposes (though interestingly, ethnic Kyrygz families were less likely to support long-term migration than ethnic Pamiri families in the area).

Kathryn Anderson of Vanderbilt University (USA) has found that migration from Kyrgyzstan (mainly toRussiato undertake low-skilled jobs) has no impact on enrolment in school education. As in, even if household members are working in Russia to earn more than they could at home, and they send some of those funds back home, the extra income does not make any difference to the number who go to school.

One small glimmer of light was that Anderson’s research found that Tajik migrants sending remittances home do make a difference to children. Secondary school students from households with a migrant worker(s) stay at school longer and more of them go. In Tajikistan, though, one of the most important impacts on children’s education is the level of their parents’ education. Combining further research on this with the data on migrant workers could produce really interesting results.

Are you suffering from capitalism?
Are you suffering from capitalism?

I very much enjoyed a presentation by Hilal Galip of the Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (Germany), which started with the image used here on the left. Hilal presented the early results of a comparison between “happy” Kyrgyz and “unhappy” Hungarians, which tries to understand why the former show higher levels of life satisfaction despite the country’s poor economic/political situation.

Day 2 of the conference had two panels, the first covering household economies and the second (including my paper) on knowledge and perceptions.

In the first panel, I was very taken by Aksana Ismailbekova‘s (Crossroads Asia Competence Network, Germany) case study approach to examining how single mothers (generally widowers) are coping in the aftermath of the summer 2010 violence in Osh, southern Kyrgyzstan. Aksana’s approach was quite different from the quantitative-heavy presentations of day 1 (see image below).

The economists in full swing – I’m sure the equations make sense to some people!

Also in that panel was a presentation about women ‘doing it all’ in Tajikistan, by Mieke Meurs of the American University in Washington, D.C. (USA). Mieke’s analysis of household survey data gave some interesting propositions: for example, women in urban areas of Tajikistan spend more time on unpaid care work (childcare, looking after elderly relatives) than women in rural areas do even though they are more likely to have paid work. I’d like to see a further analysis distinguishing between women in urban and in rural areas as my perception is that patterns of women’s work (paid and unpaid) in urban areas, especially Dushanbe, are changing – fewer children per family, more paid work etc.

My presentation was the last one and I managed to cover everything I wanted to say, although I’m sure I missed out some important points. I have realised that I collected a lot of data – enough to fill several papers! This gives me the opportunity to focus future work on particular aspects of the survey results, for example comparing experiences by gender or focussing on the post-study abroad period. Here’s my presentation:

Is the grass greener Sabzalieva presentation Berlin May 12

and I’ll continue to publish parts of the paper on this blog.

I got some interesting feedback and I’ll reflect on that and how I can take this research forward in the future.

My concluding remarks – because you have to have these at a conference! – are that I have learnt a huge amount from the presentations and fellow presenters: about different research findings, about research methodologies and about the variety of research being undertaken about Central Asia. And being able to do so in Berlin, surrounded by its history, has been a huge privilege.

Berlin by the stereotype

Reference

Teichler, U. (2007), Higher Education Systems: Conceptual Frameworks, Comparative Perspectives, Empirical Findings, Sense Publishers

Study abroad survey results: part 1

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The long awaited publication on this blog of my recent study abroad survey starts now…

Read my earlier post for background to the survey, but briefly: I undertook a survey between December 2011 and February 2012 of just over 100 Tajik nationals who are either studying abroad now, or who have studied abroad in the past.

The aims of the survey were to find out:

  • what motivates people to study abroad?
  • what do people think it will be like abroad?
  • how easy or difficult is it to adapt once abroad?
  • what happens to people once they have finished studying?

The results of the survey will be presented at a conference called ‘Micro-Level Analysis of Well-Being in Central Asia‘ being held at Humboldt University and the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin later this week.

In today’s post, I’m including three sections from the conference paper:

1. Research into study abroad

2. Tajikistan: brief context

3. About the respondents

Call back soon for more! Comments and feedback are most welcome.

1. Research into study abroad

Two main reasons explain the lack of research into 20th century study abroad tendencies amongst Tajik nationals as well as nationals of other former Soviet countries. By 1945, the Soviet Union had a well established higher education system and growing state expectations that young people should continue into higher education (Shpakovskaia, 2007). Nearly 900 institutions of higher learning existed by 1990[1] covering a vast spectrum of qualifications and subjects, and high levels of integration meant there was more than sufficient capacity to educate students within one of the republics of the Soviet Union (Brunner & Tillett, 31.01.2007). At the same time, travel beyond the borders of the Soviet Union was extremely limited, meaning that students who did want to travel abroad for study were unlikely to be permitted to do so.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, the parallel opening of borders and reduction in state funding for higher education has led to a small but growing number of Central Asian nationals seeking to pursue higher education abroad. Only a handful of reports have reflected on this, such as the British Council on Kazakhstan (British Council, May 2011). However, this paper is the first time that analysis has been undertaken with a specific focus on Tajik nationals. The literature review therefore focussed on the following areas:

  • Motivations of either international students going to one destination country or students from one destination country going abroad to one of many countries
  • Experiences of being an international student
  • Education and young people in post-Soviet Tajikistan/Central Asia

2. Tajikistan: brief context

Tajikistan is a developing country of nearly 7.5 million people, with 59% aged between 15-64 (Asian Development Bank, 2010 ) and an average age of just over 22 years (UNICEF, November 2011; World Bank, no date). It is the least developed of the Central Asian countries and around 2/3 of the population live in poverty. There are serious challenges to reducing poverty and stimulating sustainable economic growth, from the reliance on income from migrant workers abroad to extremely low investor confidence (Asian Development Bank, 2011).

Based on this context, it is unsurprising that the Ministry of Education’s policy focuses on basic education. It has identified that ‘the sector [as a whole] faces three main problems: absence of a rational and streamlined process of decision making; low capacity in the area of policy development and system management; a system of assessment of learning results and effectiveness of educational establishments’ (August 2005: 10). Looking specifically at higher education in the country, enrolment represents around 20% of the total potential population of students, which is extremely low compared to neighbours Kazakhstan (41% enrolment) and Kyrgyzstan (51%) (World Bank, no date). An unpublished report written with the support of the Ministry of Education in 2005 highlight no less than twelve groups of major problems facing the country’s higher education system post-independence (Education Reform Support Unit “Pulse”). The groups cover wide-ranging issues such as human, financial and technological resources, quality, systems, and corruption.

A further issue affecting not just higher education but that has permeated Central Asia societies is migration. In Tajikistan it has become ‘a key characteristic of the economic and social development’ of the country (UNICEF, November 2011). Official statistics point to around 1 million of the 7.5 million population living abroad at any one time, usually for work and mostly inRussia, although actual figures are likely to be up to double that. Roberts argues that as a result of migration becoming accepted as normal, ‘youth in Central Asia know that they can move, and large numbers do so’ (2010). Although the most common type of migration is for economic purposes, Roberts notes that young people also travel for study because they know that ‘qualifications guarantee nothing, but they also know that with higher education they will at least be able to compete for the inadequate number of decent jobs’ (ibid). The results of the survey suggest that migration for study abroad purposes is generally seen as a temporary, rather than a permanent move.

UNESCO estimates that in 2009, around 5,500 Tajik nationals studied abroad (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2011). The major destination countries are Russia (51% of all students) and Kyrgyzstan (27%). Whilst there are a handful of English-medium universities in these countries, it is most likely that the majority of this 78% of outbound mobile students have studied in Russian-medium universities. The number going to English-speaking countries is very low – whilst the USA was the third most popular destination for Tajik students, only 336 students are recorded to have gone there, or just 6% of the total. As such, it can be argued that this survey of 103 respondents represents a relatively high proportion of the outbound mobile Tajik students going to English-medium universities and the results are therefore broadly representative of opinions and attitudes across this sub-group of study abroad students.

 

3. About the respondents

The self-selecting participants in the survey were almost equally split gender-wise, with 48% of respondents male and 52% female. The current age range of respondents was wide, from 18 to over 40, with just over half aged between 25 and 34. Most respondents reported that they were either in their teens or aged 20-24 when they first started studying abroad. This is substantiated by figure 1, which shows the highest level of qualification achieved by respondents prior to studying abroad. The majority hold either the Tajik school leaving certificate (attestat o srednom obrazovanii in Russian), usually received at the age of 17 or 18, or an undergraduate diploma/degree, usually received in one’s early 20s.

Figure 1: Highest level of qualification pre-study abroad

Over half (57/103) of respondents had already been abroad before the study abroad experience and many had been abroad for more than one reason. Of those who had been abroad, 50% had already studied abroad, either at degree level or on a short course/exchange programme. 30% had been abroad for tourism, and 25% for work. This suggests that respondents are already pre-disposed to look internationally to enhance their experience, and it is suggested that as in other countries, ‘students abroad tend to have higher social class backgrounds than their counterparts’ (Wiers-Jenssen, October 2003). Whilst this claim cannot be qualified because income and class questions were not included in the survey (following feedback from  the first test group), Whitsel does suggest in the Tajik-specific context that students who complete secondary school and/or do an undergraduate degree in the country are indeed likely to come from better off families, as financial resources are a major barrier to school completion (March 2009).

Figure 2 shows that nearly half of all respondents were working towards a Master’s degree during their study abroad period, and just under a third were studying for an undergraduate degree. This shows a tendency to progress directly from school or undergraduate study to studying abroad for the next level of higher education. The number of students returning to study at a later stage (e.g. studying after working for a number of years) or studying abroad for short/non-degree courses is relatively limited. The next section explores whether this tendency affects the motivations of respondents to study abroad.

Figure 2: Qualification studied for during study abroad

 


Higher education in Afghanistan

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Another foray into the fringes of my blog’s remit, but this is the first time I have read anything about contemporary Afghan higher education (anything else to do with education focusses on school level) and I thought it was worth re-posting from the original on Deutsche Welle.

My paper on Tajik nationals who have studied abroad is now just about finalised ahead of the conference “Micro-Level Analysis of Well-Being in Central Asia” on 10/11 May and this week I will post some of my key findings. I’ll also put up the paper and would welcome feedback and comments on it. I’ll also plan to post from the conference, which is being held at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin (DIW Berlin).

Higher education in Afghanistan pinched by war

Fighting Taliban militants in Afghanistan consumes most of the country’s resources. Rebuilding the educational system is not a political priority.

Professor Abdul Iqrar Wasel is pacing back and forth in front of the first row of students in his seminar. He is lecturing about the rights of government to impose punishments and the rights of the accused. About 50 students are writing down as much as they can. None of them have a laptop or books. The 15 young women in the course are all sitting on the left at the front of the class.

“You have to understand the individual in the social system,” explains Professor Wasel. He is the dean of the law and political sciences faculty at the University of Kabul – with more than 10,000 students, the largest university in Afghanistan. Toward the end of the previous Taliban regime, there were fewer than 8,000 students in the entire country.

“It is incredibly important that so many young Afghans are studying in this faculty because they will be the ones, after graduation, working in the justice, foreign and interior ministries,” stresses Wasel. “I hope that these young people will rebuild our country and change it, if we can successfully prepare the ground for them.”

Wasel’s faculty currently has 1,400 students learning in two groups. There is no other way – for space reasons. Those who study during the day do not have to pay anything. The evening courses for those who work cost about 80 euros ($104) a semester. For most Afghans, this is an enormous sum.

Past versus future

Dunia is one of the lucky ones to have been accepted for one of the highly coveted spots in law school – in the day group.

“This is the only faculty with which we can understand our society and how it works. We learn how other countries function and what rights and obligations they have toward each other. Afghanistan has changed a lot in recent years, but compared to other countries, there has been no breakthrough yet. We are still a backward and underdeveloped nation. I would like to help change that,” says Dunia.

Dunia wears tight jeans and a long, black blouse underneath a fashionable blazer. She wears make-up and her eyebrows have been carefully plucked. When she graduates, the 18-year-old wants to work in the foreign ministry – preferably as a diplomat.

“I would like Afghanistan to be just like any other country in which all the people are educated. More than half of the population here cannot read or write. But if my generation works hard enough, we can change that,” she says.

Lack of funding – lots of corruption

The thirst for education is huge in Afghanistan. Some 150,000 high school graduates took part in the most recent university entrance exams, but only 40,000 were accepted; a circumstance that generated a lot of anger and disappointment.

However, most of Afghanistan’s 20 state-run and private universities lack qualified lecturers, modern curricula, books, networked computers, seminar rooms and dormitories.

Nearly all students in Afghanistan who wish to study beyond a Bachelor’s degree need to go abroad because there are no suitable programs available at home – and that means going to Pakistan, India or Iran.

More than 30 years of war have left their mark. 19-year-old Farid would like to see more money invested directly in higher education.

“The international community needs to ensure more transparency with its financial aid. Foreign countries send so many millions of dollars to Afghanistan, but only a small portion of that reaches the people who need it. Our government is profoundly corrupt. The politicians can misuse the money because it does not flow directly into specific projects. That makes donor transparency all that more important,” he says.

Low priority investment

The first 10 years of the international Afghan mission cost Germany roughly 17 billion euros, according to finance experts. During this period, the German government says it spent just 110 million euros on education and cultural projects in Afghanistan. The figures are not much better for other donors.

The academic reconstruction of Afghanistan does not have a high political priority and military expenditures swallow up most of the money. Farid, meanwhile, dreams of a career in Afghanistan in the faculty for law and political science at the University of Kabul:

“Our future has not been decided, but if we are able to strengthen the rule of law, battle corruption and govern our nation better, then we have a chance.”

Author: Sandra Petersmann / gb
Editor: Sarah Berning

© Deutsche Welle

Global, but not local: Tajikistan’s new Education Minister overlooks basic reform needs

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Nuriddin Saidov, the new Tajik Education Minister

Earlier this month, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon installed a new Minister of Education: the former Rector of Tajik National University Nuriddin Saidov.

(The outgoing Minister Abdujabbor Rahmonov has been appointed Rector of Aini Pedagogical University. I don’t know if there was a particular reason for the move – the only information I can find is from state agencies who offer information but not analysis).

This week, Saidov presented some of his early plans to the Majlisi Namoyandagon, Tajikistan’s lower chamber of parliament. I found it interesting that he chose to focus on what I would consider the “garnishes” rather than the “bread and butter” issues. That is to say, he did not use this as an opportunity to address some of the fundamental issues in the education sector like low teachers’ wages and poor school conditions (lack of materials, heating etc).

Instead, he spoke about getting more young Tajiks studying abroad and improving the study of foreign languages in schools and universities. He also asked parliament to ratify the Lisbon Recognition Convention, signed by Rahmon in June 2011. This is a European initiative to recognise countries’ higher education qualifications in the European region.

Whilst this is great news for students who want a more international perspective (and would give me more respondents for my study abroad survey!), these initiatives are certainly not going to fix the underlying problems facing the sector.

Potentially positive news for the Ministry known to be the most corrupt of all government agencies in Tajikistan (quite some achievement) was Saidov’s mention of a restructure of the Ministry. However, it remains to be seen whether this mean appointing his friends to posts or driving more fundamental reforms.

Say no to corruption in education... not just applicable to students? Image (c) amandaonmonday.wordpress.com

Parliament’s  speaker Shukurjon Zukhurov was on hand to give Saidov some real-world advice. He noted that ratifying the Lisbon Recognition Convention did not mean that Tajik students’ levels of knowledge would improve. For this, he said, the Ministry and students themselves must work harder and do more.

Saidov responded by saying he understands the responsibility he’s taken on. Let’s just hope this is truly the case.

Wanted: Tajik nationals who have studied abroad!

Posted on

Greetings from grey and rainy Oxford…

Last month, I wrote a post about a conference paper I had accepted and am now preparing. You can read the post again at the bottom of this story.

Since then, I have been doing my literature review and developing a survey to collect data for my paper. The literature review has been fun but at the same time challenging. To my knowledge, this is the first research into study abroad by Tajik nationals, so there is nothing written about this area. I’ve been looking at broader Central Asian educational literature (very little available) as well as comparative studies. This found me investigating research that has been done about study abroad tendencies in countries from Norway to Hong Kong!

Study abroad... where in the world would you go?

Today I’ve launched the survey, a short questionnaire that is aimed at Tajik nationals who have studied or are studying abroad. Please help me raise awareness of the survey by sending the link to anyone you know who might be eligible, posting it on your Facebook/V kontakte/Linked In/Twitter etc etc profile — and completing it yourself if you are eligible!

The survey is at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dDRsd2V1UkdJRW1qX3JRcTRvT0EyTmc6MQ and is open until 20 January 2012.

I would love to get 50 or more responses to the survey. That may not sound like much, but firstly, this is a small-scale study that has to be written up by March 2012, so I don’t have much time. Secondly, the number of Tajik nationals studying abroad in the medium of English each year is probably around 500 (based on UNESCO statistics for 2009) so if 50 people complete the survey that would be around 10% of the annual total, a sizeable proportion for such a small study.

Thank you in advance for your help!

And may I take the opportunity of today’s post to wish you all a very merry Christmas and all best wishes for the New Year:

Season's greetings from Emma!

Why study abroad?

(Post from 8 November 2011; for the original version click here)

I’ve just had a conference paper proposal accepted and so have been thinking in some detail about study abroad, the subject of my paper. The conference is called ‘Micro-level analysis of well-being in Central Asia’ and will be held at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin next May.

My paper will be looking at the impact of studying abroad on the well-being of Tajik nationals. ‘Well-being’ can be defined both as an ambition to make one’s life better, as well as the steps a person takes to help them achieve their ambition.

My interest in study abroad tendencies has two roots:

  1. In particular, from observing study abroad motivations and trends, as well as the impact studying abroad has on colleagues and friends from Central Asia;
  2. More generally, from working with international students at universities in London and Oxford.

So when I found out about the conference it seemed like a great opportunity to explore study abroad in more detail. I will shortly start doing interviews to examine the lifecycle of the educational experience:

  • Motivations for study abroad
  • Prior to departure, perceptions of the impact of study abroad on well-being
  • Experiences gained whilst studying abroad (e.g. process of studying, living in and adapting to a new country)
  • Post-study abroad decisions: do students return to Tajikistan? Why/why not? What qualities/experience/skills/values do they take from their experience of studying abroad and how does this impact on and change their level of well-being?
  • The impact and perceptions of the educational experience of individuals for their families and communities

If you are from Tajikistan and you are studying abroad now, or have studied abroad, and would like to be interviewed for this study, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment here, or contact me via Facebook or LinkedIn.

I’ll be posting occasional updates on my study as it progresses. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of it in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Why study abroad?

Posted on Updated on

I’ve just had a conference paper proposal accepted and so have been thinking in some detail about study abroad, the subject of my paper. The conference is called ‘Micro-level analysis of well-being in Central Asia’ and will be held at the German Institute for Economic Research in Berlin next May.

My paper will be looking at the impact of studying abroad on the well-being of Tajik nationals. ‘Well-being’ can be defined both as an ambition to make one’s life better, as well as the steps a person takes to help them achieve their ambition.

My interest in study abroad tendencies has two roots:

  1. In particular, from observing study abroad motivations and trends, as well as the impact studying abroad has on colleagues and friends from Central Asia;
  2. More generally, from working with international students at universities in London and Oxford.

So when I found out about the conference it seemed like a great opportunity to explore study abroad in more detail. I will shortly start doing interviews to examine the lifecycle of the educational experience:

  • Motivations for study abroad
  • Prior to departure, perceptions of the impact of study abroad on well-being
  • Experiences gained whilst studying abroad (e.g. process of studying, living in and adapting to a new country)
  • Post-study abroad decisions: do students return to Tajikistan? Why/why not? What qualities/experience/skills/values do they take from their experience of studying abroad and how does this impact on and change their level of well-being?
  • The impact and perceptions of the educational experience of individuals for their families and communities

If you are from Tajikistan and you are studying abroad now, or have studied abroad, and would like to be interviewed for this study, I’d love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment here, or contact me via Facebook or LinkedIn.

I’ll be posting occasional updates on my study as it progresses. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of it in more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.