Examining the aspects of institution choice in connection with the internationalization of higher education

  • Henrietta Janik Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE), Godollo, Hungary https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4268-9024
  • Zsuzsanna Naár-Tóth Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE), Godollo, Hungary
  • Szergej Vinogradov Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE), Godollo, Hungary https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6242-3063
Keywords: International student mobility, international student decision-making process, push-pull theory, non-parametric test


International student mobility is increasing and transforming the image of higher education institutions.  This study examines the factors that motivate international students in choosing a destination country. The aspects of the institution selection were examined using a non-parametric test, factor analysis and principal component analysis based on a sample of 270 people.  Relying on the results of the research conducted in Hungary, the paper examines the factors influencing the selection of the destination country and further research examining the elements effecting the selection of the final host institution.  Based on these results, the study disputes that economic and social impulses within the country of origin serve to “push” students abroad.  However, the decision of which destination country to choose depends on several “pull” factors.  The study features the usefulness of the quality of human environment, geographic proximity, tuition and living costs, scholarship opportunities, job opportunities after graduation, and the reputation of the destination country or institution, as well as the impact of linguistic proximity on student flow.  The present empirical research reveals the close relationships between some pull factors, such as favourable geographical location, institutional support, the quality of the human environment, the expected balanced work environment after graduation, and the country of origin of international students. The results of the factor analysis confirm the underlying structure of the learning variables used in this research and provide empirical support for its application in future studies of international students' higher education study experiences.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Zsuzsanna Naár-Tóth, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences (MATE), Godollo, Hungary

PhD, associate professor


Ahmad, S. Z., Buchanan, F. R., & Ahmad, N. (2016). Examination of students’ selection criteria for international education. International Journal of Educational Management, 30(6), 1088–1103. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2014-0145 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJEM-11-2014-0145

Altbach, P. G., & Knight, J. (2007). The Internationalization of Higher Education: Motivations and Realities. Journal of Studies in International Education, 11(3–4), 290–305. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315307303542 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315307303542

Apostu, S. A., Mukli, L., Panait, M., Gigauri, I., & Hysa, E. (2022). Economic Growth through the Lenses of Education, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation. Administrative Sciences, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12030074

Bacci, S., & Bertaccini, B. (2021). Assessment of the University Reputation Through the Analysis of the Student Mobility. Social Indicators Research, 156(2), 363–388. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-020-02322-x

Bartha, Z., & Gubik, A. S. (2018). Institutional determinants of part-time mobility of higher education students within Erasmus program countries (in Hungarian: A felsőoktatási hallgatók Erasmus-programországokon belüli részképzéses mobilitásának intézményi meghatározói). Marketing & Menedzsment, 52, 33–46.

Batmunkh, A., & Popp, J. (2021). Social & Spatial Analysis, and Economic Indicators of Mongolia. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 9, 227–235. https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2021.98016

Becker, R., & Kolster, R. (2012). International student recruitment: policies and developments in selected countries. NUFFIC.

Beine, M., Noël, R., & Ragot, L. (2014). Determinants of the international mobility of students. Economics of Education Review, 41, 40–54. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.03.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.econedurev.2014.03.003

Bilal, Hysa, E., Akbar, A., Yasmin, F., Rahman, A. ur, & Li, S. (2022). Virtual Learning During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Bibliometric Review and Future Research Agenda. Risk Management and Healthcare Policy, 2022(15), 1353–1368.

Binsardi, A., & Ekwulugo, F. (2003). International marketing of British education: research on the students’ perception and the UK market penetration. Marketing Intelligence & Planning, 21(5), 318–327. https://doi.org/10.1108/02634500310490265 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/02634500310490265

Bodycott, P. (2009). Choosing a higher education study abroad destination: What mainland Chinese parents and students rate as important. Journal of Research in International Education, 8(3), 349–373. https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240909345818 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1475240909345818

Bozorgmehr, K., Menzel-Severing, J., Schubert, K., & Tinnemann, P. (2010). Global Health Education: a cross-sectional study among German medical students to identify needs, deficits and potential benefits (Part 2 of 2: Knowledge gaps and potential benefits). BMC Medical Education, 10(1), 67. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-10-67 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6920-10-67

Brammer, S., & Clark, T. (2020). COVID-19 and Management Education: Reflections on Challenges, Opportunities, and Potential Futures. British Journal of Management, 31(3), 453–456. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8551.12425

Briggs, S. R., & Cheek, J. M. (1986). The role of factor analysis in the development and evaluation of personality scales. Journal of Personality, 54(1), 106–148. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1986.tb00391.x DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1986.tb00391.x

Cappelleri, J. C., Jason Lundy, J., & Hays, R. D. (2014). Overview of Classical Test Theory and Item Response Theory for the Quantitative Assessment of Items in Developing Patient-Reported Outcomes Measures. Clinical Therapeutics, 36(5), 648–662. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2014.04.006 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clinthera.2014.04.006

Chen, L.-H. (2007). East-Asian Students’ Choice of Canadian Graduate Schools. International Journal of Educational Advancement, 7(4), 271–306. https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ijea.2150071 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ijea.2150071

Cheng, M. Y., Mahmood, A., & Yeap, P. F. (2013). Malaysia as a regional education hub: a demand-side analysis. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 35(5), 523–536. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2013.825412 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/1360080X.2013.825412

Choudaha, R., & Van Rest, E. (2018). Envisioning Pathways to 2030: Megatrends Shaping the Future of Global Higher Education and International Student Mobility. Online Submission.

Chumak, N. (2022). Mobility of students and teachers in the face of Russia’s military aggression in Ukraine. In E. Pluzhnik (Ed.), Multidisciplinary academic notes. Theory, methodology and practice. Proceedings of the ХVII International Scientific and Practical Conference. (pp. 525–527). International Science Group. https://doi.org/10.46299/ISG.2022.1.17

Cubillo, J. M., Sánchez, J., & Cerviño, J. (2006). International students’ decision‐making process. International Journal of Educational Management, 20(2), 101–115. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540610646091 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540610646091

Dissanayake, H., Iddagoda, A., & Popescu, C. (2022). Entrepreneurial Education at Universities: A Bibliometric Analysis. Administrative Sciences, 12(4). https://doi.org/10.3390/admsci12040185

Fishbein, M., & Ajzen, I. (2009). Predicting and Changing Behavior: The Reasoned Action Approach. (1st Edition). Psychology Press.

Garai-Fodor, M., Varga, J., & Csiszárik-Kocsir, Á. (2021). Correlation between Generation Z in Hungary and the Motivating Factors to Do Volunteer Work in a Value-Based Approach. Sustainability, 13(20). https://doi.org/10.3390/su132011519

Haushofer, J., & Fehr, E. (2014). On the psychology of poverty. Science, 344(6186), 862–867. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1232491 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.1232491

Hemsley‐Brown, J., & Oplatka, I. (2006). Universities in a competitive global marketplace. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 19(4), 316–338. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550610669176 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513550610669176

Hernández López, E. M. (2020). Challenges Facing Mexican Students in the United Kingdom: Implications for Adaptation During the Early Stage. Journal of International Students, 10(4), 1005–1022. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v10i4.1193

Hossler, D., Braxton, J., & Coopersmith, G. (1989). Understanding Student College Choice. In Higher Education: Handbook of Theory and Research (Vol. 5).

Hurst, A. L. (2019). Class and Gender as predictors of study abroad participation among US liberal arts college Students. Studies in Higher Education, 44(7), 1241–1255. https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1428948 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03075079.2018.1428948

Jabeen, S. S., & Rafiuddin, A. (2015). Factors Influencing the Education Decision Making Process. Second 21st Century Academic Forum at Harvard, 5(1), 208–220.

Jackson, G. A. (1982). Public Efficiency and Private Choice in Higher Education. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 4(2), 237–247. https://doi.org/10.2307/1164016 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3102/01623737004002237

Janik, H., & Naárné Tóth, Z. (2021). The Role of the Stipendium Hungaricum Program in the Internationalisation of Hungarian Agricultural Higher Education (In Hungarian: A Stipendium Hungaricum program szerepe a magyar agrár-felsőoktatás nemzetköziesítésében). Külügyi Szemle, 20(4), 184–202. https://doi.org/10.47707/Kulugyi_Szemle.2021.4.8

Janik, H., & Tóth-Naár, Z. (2021). Macroeconomic indicators and student mobility: a case study of the African countries most actively involved in FAO student mobility. Economic Annals-ХХI, 190(5-6(2)), 75–85. https://doi.org/10.21003/ea.V190-07

Kaiser, H. F. (1974). An index of factorial simplicity. Psychometrika, 39(1), 31–36. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02291575 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02291575

Kéri, A. (2019). International student motivations, expectations, satisfaction and loyalty. Qualitative longitudinal research among master’s students at the University of Szeged (In Hungarian: Nemzetközi hallgatói motivációk, elvárások, elégedettség és lojalitás – kvalitatív longitudinális kutatás a Szegedi Tudományegyetemen mesterképzést végzett hallgatók körében). Vezetéstudomány / Budapest Management Review, 50(1), 41–54. https://doi.org/10.14267/VEZTUD.2019.01.04

Kim, H. S., & Lawrence, J. H. (2021). Who Studies Abroad? Understanding the Impact of Intent on Participation. Research in Higher Education, 62(7), 1039–1085. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-021-09629-9

Kim, R. I., & Goldstein, S. B. (2005). Intercultural Attitudes Predict Favorable Study Abroad Expectations of U.S. College Students. Journal of Studies in International Education, 9(3), 265–278. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315305277684 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315305277684

Kőmíves, P. M., Pilishegyi, P., Novák, N., Nagy, A. S., & Körösparti, P. (2019). The Role of the Higher Education in the Development of the Agriculture. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 9(9), 607–612. https://doi.org/10.18178/ijiet.2019.9.9.1275

Lam, J. T. S., Ariffin, A. A. Mohd., & Ahmad, A. (2011). Edutourism: Exploring the Push-pull Factors in Selecting A University. International Journal of Business and Society, 12(1), 63–78.

Lee, C. K. C., & Morrish, S. C. (2012). Cultural Values and Higher Education Choices: Chinese Families. Australasian Marketing Journal, 20(1), 59–64. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ausmj.2011.10.015 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ausmj.2011.10.015

Lee, C.-F. (2013). An Investigation of Factors Determining the Study Abroad Destination Choice: A Case Study of Taiwan. Journal of Studies in International Education, 18(4), 362–381. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315313497061 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315313497061

Lee, S. W. (2017). Circulating East to East: Understanding the Push–Pull Factors of Chinese Students Studying in Korea. Journal of Studies in International Education, 21(2), 170–190. https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315317697540 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315317697540

Li, M., & Bray, M. (2007). Cross-border flows of students for higher education: Push–pull factors and motivations of mainland Chinese students in Hong Kong and Macau. Higher Education, 53(6), 791–818. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-005-5423-3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-005-5423-3

Lindsay, A. (2014). The Gender Gap in Study Abroad [SIT Graduate Institute in Brattleboro]. https://digitalcollections.sit.edu/capstones/2734/

Litten, L. H. (1982). Different Strokes in the Applicant Pool: Some Refinements in a Model of Student College Choice. The Journal of Higher Education, 53(4), 383–402. https://doi.org/10.2307/1981605 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00221546.1982.11780470

Maringe, F., & Carter, S. (2007). International students’ motivations for studying in UK HE. International Journal of Educational Management, 21(6), 459–475. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540710780000 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540710780000

Mazzarol, T., Kemp, S., & Savery, L. (1997). International students who choose not to study in Australia: An Examination of Taiwan and Indonesia.

Mazzarol, T., & Soutar, G. N. (2002). “Push‐pull” factors influencing international student destination choice. International Journal of Educational Management, 16(2), 82–90. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540210418403 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/09513540210418403

McMahon, M. E. (1992). Higher education in a world market. Higher Education, 24(4), 465–482. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00137243 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00137243

Menzies, J. L., Baron, R., & Zutshi, A. (2015). Transitional experiences of international postgraduate students utilising a peer mentor programme. Educational Research, 57(4), 403–419. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2015.1091202 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00131881.2015.1091202

Miller, M. A. (2008). The Privileges of the Parents. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 40(1), 6–7. https://doi.org/10.3200/CHNG.40.1.6-7 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3200/CHNG.40.1.6-7

Mpinganjira, M. (2009). Comparative analysis of factors influencing the decision to study abroad. African Journal of Business Management, 3(8), 358–365.

Oláh, J., Hidayat, Y., Popp, J., Lakner, Z., & Kovács, S. (2021). Integrative trust and innovation on financial performance in disruptive era. Economics & Sociology, 14(2), 111–136. https://doi.org/10.14254/2071-789X.2021/14-2/6

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). (2021). Education at a Glance 2021: OECD Indicators. OECD. https://doi.org/10.1787/b35a14e5-en

Park, E. L. (2009). Analysis of Korean students’ international mobility by 2-D model: Driving force factor and directional factor. Higher Education, 57, 741–755. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-008-9173-x

Pope, J. A., Sánchez, C. M., Lehnert, K., & Schmid, A. S. (2014). Why Do Gen Y Students Study Abroad? Individual Growth and the Intent to Study Abroad. Journal of Teaching in International Business, 25(2), 97–118. https://doi.org/10.1080/08975930.2014.896232 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08975930.2014.896232

Priatmoko, S., Kabil, M., Akaak, A., Lakner, Z., Gyuricza, C., & Dávid, L. D. (2023). Understanding the Complexity of Rural Tourism Business: Scholarly Perspective. Sustainability, 15(2). https://doi.org/10.3390/su15021193

Pupp, Z., & Filep, B. (2021). The impact of global socio-economic changes on the regional role of universities. Economic Annals-ХХI, 190(5-6(2)), 33–47. https://doi.org/10.21003/ea.V190-04

Quintal, V. (2010, November 28). Conceptualising a Model that Investigates Drivers and Inhibitors of Students’ University Choice using the Theory of Planned Behaviour. Australian and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference.

Rámháp, S., Nagy, D., Országh, Á., Rechnitzer, J., & Filep, B. (2017). CAREER CHOICE MOTIVATION OF HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS IN CONTEXT OF CHANGING HIGHER EDUCATION IN KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY. Poslovna Izvrsnost - Business Excellence, 11(2), 23–37. https://doi.org/10.22598/pi-be/2017.11.2.23 DOI: https://doi.org/10.22598/pi-be/2017.11.2.23

Rudd, B., Djafarova, E., & Waring, T. (2012). Chinese students’ decision-making process: A case of a Business School in the UK. The International Journal of Management Education, 10(2), 129–138. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijme.2012.04.001 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijme.2012.04.001

Salisbury, M. H., Paulsen, M. B., & Pascarella, E. T. (2010). To See the World or Stay at Home: Applying an Integrated Student Choice Model to Explore the Gender Gap in the Intent to Study Abroad. Research in Higher Education, 51(7), 615–640. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9171-6 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9171-6

Santos, J. A. R. (1999). Cronbach’s alpha: A tool for assessing the reliability of scales. Journal of extension. Journal of Extension, 37(2), 1–5.

Schulte, S., & Choudaha, R. (2014). Improving the Experiences of International Students. Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, 46(6), 52–58. https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2014.969184 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00091383.2014.969184

Stewart, W. H. (2020). Seoul Destination: A Mixed-methods Study of a Korean University. FIRE: Forum for International Research in Education, 6(3), 58–82. https://doi.org/10.32865/fire202063220

Tóth, E., & Kiss, M. (2017). Satisfaction survey of foreign students at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Debrecen (in Hungarian: A külföldi hallgatók elégedettségi felmérése a Debreceni Egyetem Gazdaságtudományi Karán). Debreceni Szemle, 25(4), 499–511.

Treisman, R. (2022, April 26). The U.N. now projects more than 8 million people will flee Ukraine as refugees. Https://Www.Npr.Org/2022/04/26/1094796253/Ukraine-Russia-Refugees?T=1651399222155.

UNESCO. (2022, March 24). Mapping host countries’ education responses to the influx of Ukrainian students. Https://Www.Unesco.Org/En/Articles/Mapping-Host-Countries-Education-Responses-Influx-Ukrainian-Students#.

Van Dyne, L., Graham, J. W., & Dienesch, R. M. (1994). Organizational Citizenship Behavior: Construct Redefinition, Measurement, and Validation. The Academy of Management Journal, 37(4), 765–802. https://doi.org/10.2307/256600 DOI: https://doi.org/10.5465/256600

Van Mol, C. (2022). Exploring explanations for the gender gap in study abroad: a case study of the Netherlands. Higher Education, 83(2), 441–459. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-020-00671-7

Vasa, L., Spaller, E., & Tömböly, T. (2014). Higher education innovation challenges (In Hungarian: Felsőoktatási innovációs kihívások). In A. Tompos & L. Ablonczyné Mihályka (Eds.), The meeting of science and practice/A tudomány és a gyakorlat találkozása (pp. 1–11). Széchenyi István Egyetem.

Verbik, L., & Lasanowski, V. (2007). International Student Mobility: Patterns and Trends.

Vinogradov, S., Fekete-Farkas, M., & Tóth-Naár, Zs. (2015). Determinants of the Labor Market Success of students graduated in Szent István University in Hungary. VADYBA: Journal of Management, 27(2), 27–31. https://old.ltvk.lt/file/zurnalai/Vadyba_2(27)2015.pdf

Vrontis, D., Thrassou, A., & Melanthiou, Y. (2007). A contemporary higher education student-choice model for developed countries. Journal of Business Research, 60(9), 979–989. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.01.023 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2007.01.023

Walker, S. L., & Fraser, B. J. (2005). Development and Validation of an Instrument for Assessing Distance Education Learning Environments in Higher Education: The Distance Education Learning Environments Survey (DELES). Learning Environments Research, 8(3), 289–308. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-005-1568-3 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-005-1568-3

Wilkins, S., Balakrishnan, M. S., & Huisman, J. (2012). Student choice in higher education: Motivations for choosing to study at an international branch campus. Journal of Studies in International Education, 16(5), 413–433. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1028315311429002

Wilkins, S., & Huisman, J. (2011). International student destination choice: the influence of home campus experience on the decision to consider branch campuses. Journal of Marketing for Higher Education, 21(1), 61–83. https://doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2011.573592 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08841241.2011.573592

Wintre, M. G., Kandasamy, A. R., Chavoshi, S., & Wright, L. (2015). Are International Undergraduate Students Emerging Adults? Motivations for Studying Abroad. Emerging Adulthood, 3(4), 255–264. https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696815571665 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2167696815571665

Yeravdekar, V. R., & Tiwari, G. (2014). Internationalization of Higher Education and its Impact on Enhancing Corporate Competitiveness and Comparative Skill Formation. Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, 157, 203–209. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.11.023 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.11.023

Yue, Y., & Lu, J. (2022). International Students’ Motivation to Study Abroad: An Empirical Study Based on Expectancy-Value Theory and Self-Determination Theory. Frontiers in Psychology, 13. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.841122

Zheng, P. (2014). Antecedents to international student inflows to UK higher education: A comparative analysis. Journal of Business Research, 67(2), 136–143. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.11.003 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2012.11.003

How to Cite
Janik, H., Naár-Tóth, Z., & Vinogradov, S. (2023). Examining the aspects of institution choice in connection with the internationalization of higher education. Decision Making: Applications in Management and Engineering. https://doi.org/10.31181/dmame060113032023j
Regular articles