Is it Manly to Study Abroad? Perceptions of Masculinity in Study Abroad
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Females study abroad at disproportionately higher rates than males do throughout U.S. universities. This paper proposes and tests a novel theory on the cause of this gender gap, using primary survey data and secondary sources. The author theorizes that males study abroad at lower rates because a perception exists that study abroad is an un-masculine, or "un-manly," endeavour. The author hypothesizes that males who believe a high rate of males at their school study abroad will be more likely to study abroad than males that believe a low rate of males at their school study abroad. This hypothesis is tested through a survey experiment, which uses a memory game to present respondents with statistics showing varying levels of male participation in study abroad at the University of Maryland. The author finds that males who believe a high rate of males at their school study abroad are strongly, but not significantly, more likely to study abroad in the future, than males who believe a low rate of males at their school study abroad. This effect becomes significant when controlling for financial aid. The author makes an unexpected finding that males with financial access to travel outside of study abroad are strongly and significantly less likely to study abroad than males without financial access to travel outside of study abroad. When presented with a statistic showing a high rate of male participation in study abroad, males with access to travel become strongly and significantly more likely to study abroad.