Factors influencing Korean students’ choice of study abroad destination short-term and long-term by destination country

Sungwon Kim, Cong Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


International student mobility has been growing and reshaping the landscape of tertiary institutions. South Korea has one of the largest number of students going abroad for their studies worldwide, but their mobility trends have diversified recently with increasing regionalization and horizontal mobility. This study explores the factors behind Korean students’ desire for study abroad by country and across short- and long-term mobility. We draw on a survey of 488 Korean university students to explore push factors associated with negative perceptions of Korean society, which have rarely been studied up to date, but are important factors shaping Korean students’ migration decisions. Our findings suggest that despite differing educational focuses, factors motivating short- and long-term mobility are closely linked. While preferences for English-speaking countries as both short-term and long-term destinations are driven by importance attached to English skills and degrees and dislike of domestic education, short-term mobility has a broader scope of countries including horizontal migration to countries like China. Perceptions of gender inequality were associated with not wanting to go to Japan for short-term and/or long-term study abroad. Overall, this study is the first to articulate the quantitative association between push factors and destination countries, pointing to potential problems with the migration decision of students as they are in pursuit of better lifestyles and academic climate.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-208
Number of pages12
JournalAsia Pacific Education Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Education Research Institute, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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