Maringe, Felix and Carter, Steve
International students' motivations for studying in UK HE: insights into the choice and decision making of African students.
International Journal of Educational Marketing, 21, (6), . (doi:10.1108/09513540710780000).
Purpose – International students' HE decision making is a high stakes process. There is an insufficient evidence base that would aid university level strategic planning in areas of recruitment from the African continent and in supporting its students to maximise the benefits from a UK HE experience. This paper aims to explore the decision making and experience of African students in UK HE and provides hypothesis for re-conceptualising these processes.
Design/methodology/approach – The research was exploratory and part of a bigger project on international students' experience of UK HE. It employed focus group interviews with 28 students studying in two universities in the South of England together with semi structured discussion with staff in those institutions with a specific remit for recruiting from Africa.
Findings – A six element model of decision making was developed from the data which identifies a range of push and pull factors operating within constraints of fears and anxieties about studying in UK HE. The data suggest that African students come to study in England on the promise of getting a truly international HE experience. Questions are however raised about whether this promise is delivered in full.
Research limitations/implications – The sample size and use of focus groups as a single data gathering strategy does not allow broad generalisation of findings. However, the evidence obtained enabled the generation of useful hypothesis to stimulate further research in this area. The research identifies implications for strategic decisions for recruitment, student support and curriculum and for future research in this area.
Originality/value – This is an area with patchy research and the research reported here provides a good basis for developing a broader research agenda in Africa to support decision making on a wider scale.
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