LEFO - Legeforskningsinstituttet

Institute for Studies of the Medical Profession

Doktoravhandlinger - PhD theses

Student mobility and the professional value of higher education from abroad

Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen: Doctoral thesis at Department of Sociology and Human Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Oslo, 2008.
7. juni 2008

The thesis is in English. Contact us for more information.

Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen forsvarte 29.8. 2008 sin avhandling for graden ph.d. (philosophiae doctor). Det norske sammendraget nedenfor er hentet fra UiOs nettsider.

Du finner flere publikasjoner av Wiers-Jenssen ved å søke på hennes navn i Forskningsinstituttets publikasjonsdatabase.

Summary:
The subject of this thesis is student mobility, more specifically Norwegians undertaking higher education abroad. The main focus is on labour market outcomes of higher education from abroad, but themes like individual and political rationales for student mobility, students' assessments of the sojourn abroad and background selectivity aspects are also addressed.
The topics are situated at the intersection of sociology of education, higher education studies, and studies of labour market adaptation. Theory from each of these fields is applied. The thesis is largely based on survey data, consisting of an introductory essay and four papers.
The introduction establishes the empirical and theoretical framework for the analyses. The influence of globalisation, internationalisation and national political context on student mobility is discussed, and theoretical perspectives on educational choice and portability of skills across borders are outlined. Some implications of the findings are also pointed out.
The first paper addresses rationales for student mobility and students' assessments of study abroad. The students' decisions to study abroad are based on a combination of rationales. Three main categories of motives are identified: new impulses, obtaining a different education, and a high motivation to undertake an education not easily accessible in Norway. The vast majority of students are very satisfied with their sojourn abroad. Though challenges are encountered in the initial phase of the sojourn, most students find studying abroad advantageous from an academic and professional point of view. Added values of studying abroad are highly accentuated including cultural and linguistic skills, social networks and personal development. A suggested explanation of the high level of satisfaction is high motivation combined with relatively low economic, academic, social, linguistic and cultural barriers.
The second paper analyses vertical career outcomes. Job probability, skills mismatch and wages are analysed in multiple regression models. It is shown that higher education from abroad has positive as well as negative effects on labour market outcomes. Graduates with a diploma from abroad face more barriers entering the labour market, as they are more likely to experience unemployment and over-qualification. On the positive side, their average wages are higher a few years after graduation. The differences between graduates with diplomas from abroad and others are robust across models, though quantitatively relatively small. The results are discussed within the framework of country-specific human capital, (lack of) professional networks and signalling theories.
The third paper investigates whether education attained abroad leads to international jobs, and finds that graduates who have undertaken higher education abroad are more likely to acquire jobs with an international profile. They are far more likely to work abroad than graduates without education from abroad. However, the vast majority return to Norway. Those who have a diploma from abroad, are more likely to stay abroad than those who have been abroad as exchange students or other shorter sojourns abroad. Those who work in Norway more frequently have jobs with international assignments. However, it seems to be somewhat difficult to find jobs where foreign languages other than English are applied on a frequent basis.
The final paper looks at the medical profession, and investigates whether education from abroad influences professional practice and careers. Results show that doctors graduating in Eastern Europe report higher scores on self-assessed communication skills and clinical skills compared to doctors graduating in Norway. Doctors with a diploma from other countries do not diverge significantly from doctors graduating in Norway. Suggested explanations are formal socialisation (quality of higher education programmes), informal socialisation ('hidden curriculum') and selection effects.

Sammendrag:
Jannecke Wiers-Jenssen har undersøkt årsakene til at nordmenn velger å studere i utlandet, hvordan de mestrer utenlandsstudiene og hvordan de klarer seg i arbeidsmarkedet etter endt utdanning.
Resultatene viser at de fleste som reiser ut er motivert av å få nye impulser, som å lære språk og kultur og å studere i et internasjonalt miljø. Noen søker seg ut for å få annerledes utdanning; enten fordi studiet ikke finnes i Norge eller fordi de mener at kvaliteten er bedre utenlands. Et mindretall reiser ut fordi de ikke kommer inn på ønsket utdanning i Norge. For medisin- og andre helsefagstudenter er dette den viktigste grunnen til å reise ut. En viktig bakenforliggende årsak til at Norge har mange utenlandsstudenter, er gunstig studiefinansiering gjennom Lånekassen.
De fleste utenlandsstudentene mestrer både de faglige og sosiale aspektene ved utenlandsoppholdet godt. Den første tiden utenlands er utfordrende, men så å si alle vurderer studier i utlandet som en svært positiv erfaring. Studentene understreker at utenlandsstudier gir stort utbytte utover det rent faglige.
Det store flertallet reiser hjem til Norge når de er ferdig med utdanningen. Fire år etter avsluttet studium er fire av fem tilbake. De som har vitnemål fra utlandet har noe større problemer med å komme seg inn på arbeidsmarkedet enn de med tilsvarende utdanning fra norske læresteder. Flere har opplevd arbeidsledighet og flere oppfatter seg som overkvalifisert for nåværende jobb. En positiv effekt er at de som er utdannet i utlandet har høyere lønn, noe som blant annet har sammenheng med at flere jobber i privat sektor. De utenlandsutdannede har også oftere jobber med internasjonalt tilsnitt. Utdanning fra utlandet har med andre ord både positive og negative effekter på muligheter på det norske arbeidsmarkedet.