College students’ decision-making for study abroad – Anecdotes from a U.S. hospitality and tourism internship program in China

Liping A. Cai
W. Wei
Ying (Tracy) Lu
Jonathon J. Day


This study attempts to understand how the hospitality and tourism students in the United States make decisions for study abroad participation. Through the analysis of textual data from focus groups and in-depth interviews, this study has identified three sequential phases of a decision-making process by study abroad participants. The first phase is pre-evaluation, including initial awareness and information search. The second phase isdecision-making that consists of pull and push motivational factors, influencers, and barriers. The third phase is post-participation, including the elements of program evaluation, impacts, and future behavior. The implications of this study’s findings are discussed in relation to the design, recruitment, administration, and curricula integration of study abroad programs.