Factors Influencing Students’ Decisions to Engage in International Education Opportunities Post-COVID





Information sources, messaging cues, advertisements


International education opportunities are vital to students’ personal, professional, and educational development. Pre-COVID era research has found that students seek to participate in international education to learn about other cultures, enhance career development, gain world enlightenment, attain personal growth, or for leisure. However, minimal research exists about students’ decision-making factors to engage in international education opportunities post-COVID. The purpose of this study was to examine selected students’ preferred information sources, cues, and perceived challenges that influenced decisions to engage in international education opportunities post-COVID. Descriptive survey methods with a cross-sectional research design were used to gather data on students’ perceptions of international education opportunities. Respondents’ most preferred sources to learn more about international education opportunities were social media (university sites), friends, and academic advisors. Messaging cues that most attracted students’ attention were affordability, personal growth, and learning about another culture. Financial challenges, foreign language skills, and safety (in-country travel, diet, politics) were perceived as the most difficult challenges when deciding to engage in international education opportunities. Universities should make concentrated efforts to use targeted advertising through strategically identified sources and prioritized messaging cues that attract students’ attention and assuage their concerns about engaging in international educational opportunities.


Download data is not yet available.


Ajzen, I. (1991). The theory of planned behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 50(2), 179–211. https://doi.org/10.1016/0749-5978(91)90020-T

Briers, G. E., Shinn, G. C., & Nguyen, A. N. (2010). Through students’ eyes: Perceptions and aspirations of college of agriculture and life science students regarding international educational experiences. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 17(2), 5-20. doi:10.5191/jiaee.2010.17201 https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=d0c74fc23fe6e69f7adefbdb06d6a9051c614b6e

Brinberg, M., Ram, N., Wang, J., Sundar, S. S., Cummings, J. J., Yeykelis, L., & Reeves, B. (2022). Screenertia: Understanding “stickiness” of media through temporal changes in screen use. Communication Research, 0(0). https://doi.org/10.1177/00936502211062778

Caillouet, O. C., & Wood, L. S. (2019). Students’ perceived barriers, benefits and international programmatic preferences. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 26(3), 134-146. htpps://doi.org/10.5191/jiaee.2019.26309

Cavazos, A. W. (2022). HEOP study abroad: Opportunities and barriers. (Publication No. 29254593) [Doctoral dissertation, Northeastern University] ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/dissertations-theses/heop-study-abroad-opportunities-barriers/docview/2707585034/se-2

Chang, C. W., Pratt, O., Bielecki, C., Balinas, M., McGucken, A., Rutherford, T., & Wingenbach, G. (2013). Agriculture students’ interests, preferences, barriers, and perceived benefits of international educational experiences. NACTA Journal, 57(3a), 97-103. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/nactajournal.57.3a.97.pdf

Chang, C. W., Rutherford, T., & Wingenbach, G. (2012a). College of agriculture students’ interests and factors affecting their international education experiences. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 19(2), 158-160. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/nactajournal.57.3a.97.pdf

Chang, C. W., Rutherford, T., & Wingenbach, G. (2012b). College of agriculture students’ perceptions of international education experiences. Journal of International Agricultural and Extension Education, 19(2), 95-97.

Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (3rd ed.). Sage Publications.

Curtis, T., & Ledgerwood, J. R. (2018). Students’ motivations, perceived benefits and constraints towards study abroad and other international education opportunities. Journal of International Education in Business, 11(1), 63-78. https://doi.org/10.1108/JIEB-01-2017-0002

Dillman, D. A., Phelps, G., Tortora, R., Swift, K., Kohrell, J., Berck, J., & Messer, B. L. (2009). Response rate and measurement differences in mixed-mode surveys using mail, telephone, interactive voice response (IVR) and the Internet. Social Science Research, 38(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ssresearch.2008.03.007

Field, A. (2000). Discovering statistics using SPSS for Windows: Advanced techniques for the beginner. Sage Publications.

Filieri, R., Hofacker, C. F., & Alguezaui, S. (2018). What makes information in online consumer reviews diagnostic over time? The role of review relevancy, factuality, currency, source credibility and ranking score. Computers in Human Behavior, 80, 122-131. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2017.10.039

Keshari, P., & Jain, S. (2016). Effect of age and gender on consumer response to advertising appeals. Paradigm, 20(1), 69-82. https://doi.org/10.1177/0971890716637702

Lewis, W. (2016). Study abroad influencing factors: An investigation of socio-economic status, social, cultural, and personal factors. Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado, 5(3), 6. https://digscholarship.unco.edu/urj/vol5/iss3/6

Mezirow, J. D. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 74, 5–12. https://www.ecolas.eu/eng/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Mezirow-Transformative-Learning.pdf

Petty, R. E., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1986). The elaboration likelihood model of persuasion. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, 19, 123–205. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0065-2601(08)60214-2

Petty, R. E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Schumann, D. (1983). Central and peripheral routes to advertising effectiveness: The moderating role of involvement. Journal of Consumer Research, 10(2), 135–146. https://doi.org/10.1086/208954

Rampold, S., Coleman, B., Bunch, J., & Roberts, R. (2020). Exploring students’ cultural competence development during a short-term international experience: A Q-sort study. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 1(2), 65–78. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v1i2.45

Santiso, G. B., & Sanz, C. (2022). Study abroad and student decision-making in times of COVID: A mixed methods study. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(1), 45-60. https://doi.org/10.36366/frontiers.v34i1.649

Segev S., & Fernandes J. (2023) The anatomy of viral advertising: A content analysis of viral advertising from the elaboration likelihood model perspective. Journal of Promotion Management, 29(1), 125–154, https://doi.org/10.1080/10496491.2022.2108189

Teng, S., Khong, K. W., & Chong, A. Y. L. (2015) Study abroad information in the new media. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 25(2), 263–286. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2015.1079086

Trower, H., & Lehmann, W. (2017). Strategic escapes: Negotiating motivations of personal growth and instrumental benefits in the decision to study abroad. British Educational Research Journal, 43(2), 275-289. https://doi.org/10.1002/berj.3258

Authors. (2019). Self-perceived employability skills from agricultural study abroad experiences. NACTA Journal, 63(1a), 164-172. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27128510

Authors. (2023). Becoming a global citizen: Belief vs. action. Advancements in Agricultural Development, 4(1), 32–47. https://doi.org/10.37433/aad.v4i1.247

Additional Files



How to Cite

Wooten, A., & Wingenbach, G. (2024). Factors Influencing Students’ Decisions to Engage in International Education Opportunities Post-COVID. NACTA Journal, 68(1). https://doi.org/10.56103/nactaj.v68i1.164