Describing Parents' Perceptions, Valuation, and Support of Study Abroad Programs at Three Southern Land-Grant Universities
Keywords:International Experiences, Study Abroad, College of Agriculture, Parent Perceptions
Parents are an integral part of the decision to study abroad, but little research investigates parents’ perceptions about study abroad. This study uses the Theory of Planned Behavior as a conceptual framework to explain perceptions and value of study abroad by parents of agriculture students Land-Grant universities based on previous international experiences and other beliefs. Researchers delivered a questionnaire to 1511 parents at three universities to measure perceptions and value of study abroad, and intent to support their students’ participation in study abroad. We found that parents had little international experience, which may limit their behavioral beliefs and impact their decision to support study abroad. We also found that parents believed short-term, summer programs, that cost between $2000 and $4000 were ideal. Finally, we found that parents believed that study abroad programs were somewhat important and that they were somewhat likely to support their students’ participation. Administrators and faculty should consider parent expectations and value when planning study abroad, and work to provide education and outreach to enhance value beliefs and normative beliefs of parents. Further research should explore the predictive value of previous experiences in parents’ likelihood to support a students’ decision to study abroad.