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Examination of students’ selection criteria for international education

Syed Zamberi Ahmad (Department of Management, College of Business Administration, Abu Dhabi University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates)
F. Robert Buchanan (Department of Management, Eberly College of Business and Information Technology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA)
Norita Ahmad (Department of Management Information Systems, School of Business Administration, American University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)

International Journal of Educational Management

ISSN: 0951-354X

Article publication date: 8 August 2016




Motivations for study abroad in tourism and hospitality were examined as to the influence of a variety of personal criteria in the individual decision process of adult learners to select a host country and host institution of study. The paper aims to discuss this issue.


Push-pull factors (Mazzarol and Soutar, 2002) formed the basic framework of inquiry. Quantitative analysis was done through primary data collection using hard copy surveys. Qualitative inquiry involved interviews with open-ended questions.


Country attractions of the host location was the highest ranked decision criteria, followed by considerations of the educational institution.

Research limitations/implications

Prestige and reputation of the education provider is of high value. However, greater decision influence was seen in respondents’ selection of host country for the attributes of safe and pleasant living conditions, as well as on going career opportunities locally. Sampling was cross-sectional and limited to one industry and one country. Although these are natural control variables, generalizability may be limited, and requires further study.


Policymakers should be mindful of the match between the educational program and the site selection. Prestige of the school may not overcome a suboptimal location decision.



Ahmad, S.Z., Buchanan, F.R. and Ahmad, N. (2016), "Examination of students’ selection criteria for international education", International Journal of Educational Management, Vol. 30 No. 6, pp. 1088-1103.



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