In its inaugural Study Abroad: Voice of the Student Survey of more than 140 U.S. college students, Terra Dotta, a leading global engagement education technology provider, today revealed that a majority (72%) of students surveyed said they want to study abroad in 2022 citing strengthening of their language skills (30%) and preparing for the global workforce (24%) as the primary reasons.
As the pandemic reaches its second anniversary, global education programs and the students they serve have been severely impacted by limits on international travel. And yet even as Covid persists, 58% of students said that while concerned, they will proceed with a study abroad program with caution. Only 16% of respondents said that Covid concerns are holding them back from their intentions to study abroad.
With a cross-section of college students responding, more than half of the survey participants (55%) were college seniors. As the Class of 2022 were just sophomores when the pandemic began, they are the most likely to have had their study abroad plans cut short. Yet, many are still planning to participate in the life-changing experience of study abroad. Nearly 40% of students cited planning a summer 2022 experience, while 26% said they were planning to study abroad in the spring. The top experiences students reported considering were Research (28%) and a Semester Abroad (26%), followed by internships (14%) and language learning or immersion (12%).
“The buzz in the industry is that students are ready to travel more broadly again, and we are seeing an increase in student applications and new programs across our platform, but we wanted to hear from the people the global engagement industry serves – the students, and the students are ready to go - safely,” said Anthony Rotoli, CEO of Terra Dotta.
Half of the students (49%) surveyed indicated that a prior study abroad experience had been canceled on them, and 89% of those intended to apply for another program. Overall, 98% of the students said they are planning to go in the future.
The survey also addressed the impact of study abroad offerings on students’ college selection decisions. For example, 86% of the students surveyed said an institutions’ Study Abroad programs and/or the schools’ support of Study Abroad impacted their selection decision. Similarly, two-thirds of students reported learning about study abroad from their university. And as for communications, while half of the students surveyed pointed to the Study Abroad website as the No. 1 way for their institution to promote information about study abroad programs, ideas, and availability, only 22% of students learned about study abroad in their freshman year.
“With student interest and travel quickly ramping back up, Study Abroad offices have an opportunity to be more proactive in their marketing communication, and reach more students, earlier in the student journey, to promote their programs,” added Rotoli.
While travel was shut down, new ways to engage students in global education were born. Many Study Abroad offices offered virtual global programming and increased their Study Away (domestic) travel programs. Both can help address Study Abroad’s accessibility issues whereby financial, physical, mental health and other obstacles can limit student participation rates. In addition, when asked what their schools can do to help make study abroad more accessible, nearly half (47%) of students said they would like help identifying more financial aid opportunities and 23% would like help aligning study abroad opportunities with their field of study.
Using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a crowdsourcing Internet site, Terra Dotta asked 145 college age students based in the U.S. with an interest in Study Abroad 30 questions. The survey ran Feb. 13-18, 2022.
To learn more, visit https://go.terradotta.com/StudentVoiceSurvey.
About Terra Dotta
Terra Dotta is the trusted leader in global engagement solutions for higher education. Over 600 universities and colleges use Terra Dotta’s global engagement platform to facilitate cross-cultural experiences for students, faculty and staff in more than 85 countries worldwide. The company’s solutions help customers deliver end-to-end, accessible global engagement experiences that meet comprehensive safety and compliance requirements – from managing domestic and international travel to international student programs, virtual and global experiences and beyond. Terra Dotta is based in Chapel Hill, N.C. and can be found at www.terradotta.com.