Attracting international degree students to Finnish higher education institutions: a study on decision making processes of Chinese and South Korean students
School of Business | Master's thesis
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AbstractOBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY The research on international student mobility in Finland has been limited and often focused on exchange students. Furthermore studies in the field are often descriptive in nature and concentrated on satisfaction and the adjustment of foreign students to Finnish society and education system. The objective of this research is to create understanding of the decision making processes of potential foreign degree students from China and South Korea. This understanding is meant to create knowledge than can be utilized in recognizing ways for Finnish higher education institutions, including universities and universities of applied sciences, to attract international degree students. METHODOLOGY The research belongs to the discipline of services marketing and consumer research. The research was conducted as a qualitative research through personal semi-structured interviews. A total of 13 potential students were interviewed for the research. The interview data was examined by utilizing the theoretical framework on international students' decision-making process by Cubillo et al. The framework uses purchase intention of foreign higher education as an independent variable dependent on five factors. FINDINGS The study illustrated that reasons related to individual socioeconomic advancement were the main motivation behind the decision to study abroad, while country image effect, institution image and program evaluation proved to be the most important facilitators to achieve this desired advancement. Total cost of international education, including both tuition and general cost of living, was also a significant deciding factor. Advice from family was deemed less important than advice from friends and professors. Personal experience of the destination country was more important to students who were considering Finland. Compared to the rest of the sample, students considering Finland also considered program evaluation more important than institution image or city effect.
international student mobility, decision making, higher education, China, South Korea, Finland