While students may choose to study abroad in search of career opportunities and adventure, where students are from could have a bigger influence on the decision, according to recent research from Duke University.
According to the most recent data from the Office of Information Management and Analysis, out-of-state students made up 10.7 percent of the total number of students enrolled at UT in 2010. Lindsay Jones, an administrative associate at the International Office, said this spring, out of a total of 86 students going to Spain — the office’s most popular destination — 21 percent were non-Texas residents.
“Because I’m curious, and I love data, I did a one-year search for Spain,” Jones said. “From summer 2013 to spring 2014 we had a total of 354 students in Spain. There were 35 [— or 10 percent —] that were non-Texas residents, and 8 [— or 2 percent —] who were non-U.S. residents.”
Psychology professor Christopher Beevers said he thinks out-of-state students are more likely to come from affluent families who can afford the higher tuition rate. According to Beevers, parents who have not traveled, whether by choice or financial limitations, are less likely to emphasize travel experience during their children’s upbringing.
“Parents with greater education and travel experience likely instill those values in their children, either vicariously when parents travel themselves or by encouraging their children to travel abroad, because the parents believe that travel is important and a valuable life experience,” Beevers said.
McKay Proctor, a business freshman and native of Nashville, Tenn., said he will be spending his summer in Buenos Aires, Argentina, studying management through a McCombs School of Business international program. According to Proctor, Texas is a “different animal” than anywhere he has ever been, and that is part of what drew him to UT. Proctor said he thinks his ability to adapt to such a distinct environment will help him find success in his travels this summer.
“I think that I am, in some ways, a stranger in a strange land, even if I had never left the country, coming here,” Proctor said. “I think the fact that I’m comfortable with that and I’ve found my place here means that I might be better able to adapt to a foreign country. Considering that Texans are very loud and proud and culturally distinct, how hard will it be for me to know Argentines that way?”