Special Issue on Heterogeneous Effects of Studying Abroad in Higher Education


A team of international scholars has investigated the question of who benefits most from studying abroad. The resulting collection of articles has now been published as a special issue in Higher Education.

Over the past decades, empirical research has provided a substantial body of knowledge on the determinants and individual-level effects of studying abroad. Yet, it has not sufficiently acknowledged a simple possibility: It is unlikely that all individuals benefit from studying abroad to the same extent. Although advisable from both a theoretical and a methodological point of view, few studies have explicitly focused on heterogeneity in the effects of studying abroad. A collection of articles, which has now been published as a special issue of Higher Education, has set out to address this research gap.

All contributions adopt a unique analytical perspective: Having their roots in psychology, economics, and sociology, they use various theoretical approaches (theories of personality traits, experiential learning, rational choice, human capital, signalling, statistical discrimination, social capital, and social stratification) and statistical methods (linear and multinomial logistic regressions, latent change models, multilevel models, growth curve models, and propensity score matching). They cover different European countries (UK, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, and Norway) and focus on different outcomes of studying abroad (multicultural self-efficacy, metacognitive intercultural competence, intergroup anxiety, enrolment in postgraduate education, job search duration, likelihood of employment, skills mismatch, and labour income). In doing so, they explore the effects of studying abroad in different stages of the life course (during studies, at the transition from higher education to work, and in the early professional career). Moreover, they examine various types of effect heterogeneity in the outcomes of studying abroad. Finally, they highlight several potential paths for future research. All articles are open access (see links below).

Contents of the special issue Heterogeneous effects of studying abroad

Who benefits most from studying abroad? A conceptual and empirical overview

Nicolai Netz


The development of multicultural effectiveness in international student mobility

Julia Zimmermann, Henriette Greischel, & Kathrin Jonkmann


Heterogeneous effects of graduates’ international mobility on employers’ hiring intentions—experimental evidence from Germany

Knut Petzold


International student mobility and the transition from higher education to work in Norway

Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen & Liv Anne Støren


International student mobility and labour market outcomes: an investigation of the role of level of study, type of mobility, and international prestige hierarchies

Christof Van Mol, Kim Caarls, & Manuel Souto-Otero


International mobility of students in Italy and the UK: does it pay off and for whom?

Béatrice D’Hombres & Sylke V. Schnepf


Does the effect of studying abroad on labour income vary by graduates’ social origin? Evidence from Germany

Nicolai Netz & Michael Grüttner


PDF of the announcement


Nicolai Netz
Dr. Nicolai Netz +49 511 450670-171

Press contact

Filiz Gülal
Dr. Filiz Gülal +49 511 450670-939
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