International Branch Campuses (IBCs) are growing rapidly worldwide, particularly in emerging countries, such as China. A literature review finds that there are contradictions among home and host countries in the economic rationales for establishing IBCs. In theory, both home and host countries would like to benefit from IBCs; however, in practice, most Chinese IBC undergraduates go on to study abroad after graduation and the contribution they make to China’s development becomes a concern. This research aims to understand the contradiction by examining intentions to study abroad at an IBC in China.
Based on the literature on college choice, choice of IBC, and study abroad, a combined model of study abroad is proposed, which provides a conceptual framework for this research. This research is conducted at an IBC with independent legal status in China. A cross-sectional study and a mixed-methods approach are adopted. An online survey is distributed to the Chinese undergraduates at the chosen IBC, and semi-structured interviews are conducted with fifteen interviewees. The quantitative data is analysed with descriptive analysis, binary logistic regression analysis, and spearman’s correlation analysis. Thematic analysis is applied to the qualitative data. Analyses show that most students at this IBC are from socioeconomically advantaged families and there is a high proportion of students reporting that they had intentions to study abroad before they enrolled at this IBC, with the proportion significantly increasing during their first year of study. The “controlled mobile” students (as this study refers to them) that intend to study abroad before they enrolled at this IBC, and their parents, chose an IBC mainly as a means of transition to foreign universities in future; they reproduce their social status through study abroad, with this IBC as a stepping stone. The “emergent mobile” students form their intentions to study abroad during their first year of study. They modify their habitus at this IBC with multiple subfields for their habitus-field dissonance. This research shows that expected benefits and costs, as well as academic ability and achievement, have the most significant correlations with intention to study abroad, and institutional characteristics of the IBC also influence this intention. The qualitative study provides explanations for the findings.
This findings on the effects of an IBC on intention to study abroad are useful for policymakers to develop IBC policies and strategies for policy enactments. This research contributes a proposed conceptual model for researchers to examine study abroad. The findings provide a lens to understand the choice of IBC and IBC students’ intentions to study abroad, which may be of value to practitioners at IBCs, such as in the development of recruitment strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic, when the IBCs in China are facing challenges to recruit quality students.
|Date of Award||8 Jul 2021|
- Univerisity of Nottingham
|Supervisor||John Lowe (Supervisor)|