Research Proposal

Student exchange is a wonderful thing, I experienced it myself when I was fifteen. It makes me curious to know how student exchange benefits students at a young adult age compared to when I was only a teenager. Thus I will be researching and reporting on the benefits of studying abroad. Along with the benefits, I wish to endeavour, explore and gather an understanding of how universities from across Australia promote student exchange and the benefits it has for students that partake in this experience. Of course negative aspects will not be forgotten throughout this research project as it is important to consider that not all study abroad programs for each individual are positive experiences.

Thus, my research proposal question will be;

How studying abroad while at University can improve your academic experience and benefit you in everyday life?

I plan on approaching this proposed research question by looking at different university websites across Australia (ideally one or two from each state of Australia) and what they say about why students are encouraged to study abroad along with the benefits. Along with completing that research I will be specifically looking at the University of Wollongong by talking to their exchange team and students that have participated in one or two semester study abroad program.

I have completed some research prior to proposing this research project to ensure I cover a wide variety of knowledge and information is provided by each university. Some universities include; University of Western Sydney (UWS), University of Wollongong (UOW), University of Western Australia (UWA), University of Canberra (UC) and many more have plenty of information as to why they encourage and promote student exchange within their university. Benefits that the universities speak of as a whole include;

  • Developing independence
  • Widens career opportunities
  • Self growth
  • Develop a language skill
  • Make friends from around the world

Along with looking at websites from universities within Australia, I will also look at statistics that have been produced by the BBC in 2012 by S. Sood. and the University of California, Merced. QS, a website that focuses on top universities worldwide, explains the benefits of studying abroad. The information provided in these studies will be my basis of my survey and interview questions for the students that I will be having a discussion with about their experiences. I will be asking individuals about their marks, experiences, and benefits of the exchange program.

I plan on talking to students who have recently been on exchange in another part of the world about their experiences and why they would recommend someone else to study and live abroad in another country experiencing a different culture. I hope to be able to talk to a variety of students from each faculty from the university that have completed the study abroad program for a short term or long term period to ensure that I cover a large ground aspect of this project. I will also talk to international students from a number of countries about their experiences here, why they chose to study abroad and what they hope to get out of it.

I also would like to expand my research and look into student travel blogs and how they have been affected by travelling as I am aware it is a great experience with lots of struggles, but also many memories that never will be forgotten. This will be a valuable source of information showing significant positives and negatives of studying abroad.

To also gain some further knowledge in my spare time I will read into scholarly articles to gain some extra insight and general background knowledge on multiculturalism and how travel can increase your quality of life. One article that was produced in 2004 by Dwyer, Mary M. shows clear correlation of data results from other sources and draws conclusions to benefits from the student’s experiences.

I will also be able to refer to previous research that I have conducted about student exchange and the impacts it has on the student’s wellbeing along with my own person experiences from studying abroad in The Netherlands in 2011 when I was fifteen. This research was conducted in 2012.

Combining the gathered information along with conducting my own research through surveys and interviews, like discussed above, will provide me with a clearer picture of the value of studying abroad which will allow me to construct a research report on the benefits of studying abroad.