AFS has published the findings of a study surveying more than 5000 teenagers in 27 countries to explore their motivations for studying abroad. Mapping Generation Z: Attitudes towards International Education Programs reveals that English-speaking destinations continue to be most attractive and favourable to teenage students, but that affordability remains a ‘significant hurdle’ for many. 26% said that they would only be able to partake in studying abroad if there was a full scholarship opportunity, with an additional 12% saying that they sought out location based on the lowest-price offer. The study also highlights that students across the world place a lot of weight on both the reputation of the school as well as reputation of the host country.
Additionally, participants unsurprisingly said that the final decision boiled down to themselves as well as the opinions of their parents. Other influential actors were the the local exchange organisation, social media, and extended family and friends. Schools had the least rating for influential actor in decision-making.
In light of current turbulent climates globally, security has gone up as a key concern for many students. The report notes that:
Countries where the research was conducted before May 2016 show a personal safety concern rate of 36%, while the following months (when acts of terrorism became frequent) yield a rate of 52%, which points to increased awareness of the global security situation. Security concerns supersede fear of social isolation (50%), homesickness (48%), and discrimination (34%).