It began with a question raised in an article: What are the barriers facing students who may be interested in studying abroad?
But the article was missing a critical voice, says Dr. Chris Moos, professor of business administration: the voice of students.
“It talked to faculty members and study abroad directors about what those barriers are,” he says. “It’s like asking a store why customers aren’t buying their product instead of asking the customers themselves.”
Moos teamed with Dr. Alex Vernon, professor of business administration, and former student Holly Loncarich to tell the other side of the story by going right to the source. In November of 2017, they published “Student Expectancy and Barriers to Study Abroad” in the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal, Vol. 21, No. 1.
“If you look at study abroad programs and how many students do it, it’s about 1 percent … which is shockingly low,” says Moos. “But at Missouri Southern, we’re at about 4 percent of students, and 13 percent of graduating students.”
Students from across campus were surveyed for the project. Safety, cost, family concerns and the possibility of lost wages were among the topics covered by the survey.
“What came up was that students are really concerned about the financial impact,” he says. “It can be affected based on where the economy is at the time they’re looking. If students have a wait-staff position or other part-time job, and know they’re going to be gone for a few weeks, knowing that jobs will be available when they return is helpful. If the unemployment is higher, they’re more worried about it.”
Moos says a concern for personal safety can also be a barrier.
The university’s international mission, the variety of options and the availability of funding are among the factors in MSSU’s higher-thanaverage number of participants in the program.
“It affirmed that, as an institution, we’re doing good things.”