Magazine article Times Higher Education

Study Abroad? What about My Bros?

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Study Abroad? What about My Bros?

Article excerpt

Report suggests that US men find it hard to form new social groups overseas. Ellie Bothwell writes

US universities need to highlight the academic and career benefits of studying abroad rather than focus on "life-changing experience" rhetoric if they want to increase take-up from male students.

That is the view of Samantha Brandauer, director of education abroad at Dickinson College, and Rebecca Bergren, dean for global initiatives at Gettysburg College, who have conducted research on why fewer men choose to study abroad compared with women.

According to the Institute of International Education's Open Doors 2014 report, 65.3 per cent of US students who studied abroad in 2012-13 were female - a figure that has remained relatively stable for the past decade.

Ms Brandauer and Ms Bergren's research shows that while female students recognise the range of benefits that can be gained from studying overseas, male students' "bro mentality" means that they are more likely to want to stay on campus for the duration of their course.

"Women are much more fluid in terms of their ability to move between social groups, whereas it tends to take men a while to find their thing, be it sports, fraternity, friends, and when they do they are reluctant to leave the comfort of that," Ms Brandauer said. "They derive a lot of status from having found their role so think 'why rock the boat by studying abroad?'"

She added: "They won't say this is why - they will come up with reasons like the subject of their major or athletics keeping them on campus - but these are in fact excuses as they don't seem to be a deterrent for women. …

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