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Title:A shift in international higher education preferences: Analyzing Colombian students’ trends of choosing the European Union as their destination
Author(s):Rodriguez Diaz, Rafael Arturo
Advisor(s):Vander Most, Neil
Contributor(s):Sotomayor, Antonio
Department / Program:Liberal Arts & Sciences
Discipline:European Union Studies
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Mobility of Students, Colombia, COLFUTURO, European Union, Push and Pull Factors, Globalization, Internationalization of Higher Education.
Abstract:Despite the substantial amount of critical work on globalization and its impact on the internationalization of higher education regarding the mobility of students from all over the world, the role of the European Union (EU) as the union it represents, instead of the sum of the nation-states that compose it, remains relatively unexplored. When comparing the number of Colombian students traveling abroad for educational purposes before and after 2007, the United States come first among the main destinations chosen by students from low-income countries such as Colombia. However, when these numbers are compared with the numbers of students travelling to the EU as a whole, the rankings change considerably. It is this shift of students’ preferences and its causes which have motivated the present research. This thesis conducts a historical and documentary research based on the data collected from COLFUTURO, the main organization in Colombia which provides Colombians with financial support under a scholarship-loan model so that they can pursue Higher Education degrees abroad; and the efforts of the European Commission to promote the European Union as a whole among the main destinations for international perspectives Higher Education students. I argue, therefore, that there has been a shift of the dominance of the United States as the main destination for Colombians’ higher education. By exploring and analyzing the number of Colombian students traveling from 2000 to 2016 as well as their increase after 2007, I demonstrate that the EU has successfully achieved a better positioning within the rank of desired destinations for Colombians. Herein, I answer the question “Why did the number of Colombian students traveling to the EU with COLFUTURO have the biggest increase compared to any other destination in the world since 2007?”. I also demonstrate that the influence and the image of the EU and its education system within Colombia has improved and increased significantly due to a number of reasons but specially the lower cost of studies, highly ranked higher education institutions, the use of English as a lingua franca in institutions of higher education within the European Union, increased number of scholarships offered by the member-states, and more traveling opportunities within the Union. Additionally, the promotion of the Study in Europe Brand since 2007 was a significant determinant for Colombians to have the European Union as their main destination for that same year. As a result, the findings of this research invite international stakeholders to further explore the potential of implementing the European Union unified practices in several areas such as education and gradually construct a more effective international higher education framework.
Issue Date:2018-04-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Rafael Arturo Rodriguez Diaz
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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