ERIC Number: ED343497
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Priming the Pump: The Making of Foreign Area Experts.
This report presents the results of a survey of graduate students, both U.S. and foreign, enrolled in U.S. universities who were focusing their advanced studies on a world area. The survey was designed to determine how students become interested and involved in foreign language and area studies and focussed on several questions, in particular: What types of experiences, academic and nonacademic, influenced students to pursue graduate work in area studies? When did these experiences occur? What differences are there in types of experiences across areas? and How do such experiences influence choice of discipline and research interest? The study surveyed 1,032 graduate students currently enrolled at 70 area studies programs at 29 universities across the nation. Of the respondents, 228 were foreign students and 804 were students from the United States. Examination of the results revealed several patterns: (1) catalysts for interests were often found in travel or work experiences; (2) most of the students had considered concentration in a world area during their undergraduate years; (3) most decisions to pursue such study was made before graduate school; (4) departments and disciplines that "welcomed" area students attracted more students; (5) foreign students concentrating on their own world area seem to have a "head start" in language and area knowledge that provided more opportunities for combining with other disciplines, and (7) faculty influence on prospective area specialists was important. Included are 13 tables and 18 notes. (JB)
Descriptors: Academic Aspiration, Area Studies, Foreign Students, Graduate Students, Graduate Study, Higher Education, International Education, Second Language Learning, Student Attitudes, Student Characteristics, Student Educational Objectives, Student Interests, Student Motivation, Teacher Influence
IIE Books, Institute of International Education, 809 United Nations Plaza, New York, NY 10017-3580 ($4.00).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: EXXON Education Foundation, New York, NY.; American Council on Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Institute of International Education, New York, NY.