Rachel Merola


There is substantial research in the area of international student satisfaction that calls for deeper understanding, including large-scale studies indicating that there are differences between international and domestic students, and between international student groups. This underscores the importance of studying international students specifically, as an understanding of what matters in their academic satisfaction will allow universities to provide it more easily.

I seek to explore what influences international student satisfaction using data from the International Student Barometer and qualitative interviews with students from China, India, and South Korea studying in the US, UK, and Australia. Furthermore, after identifying these factors, I would like to better understand how and why they influence the experiences of international students.

Within this broad research question, existing literature points to three key sub-questions that merit further analysis. First, what demographic and educational factors are most predictive of student satisfaction? In particular, are there differences between nationalities in international student satisfaction, and if so, what are they? Second, is there a link between a student’s stage of study and his/her level of satisfaction? On a similar note, is stage of study linked to reported level of integration? And, finally, what is the relationship between level of integration and international student satisfaction? Does one lead to the other?


Rachael Merola is Senior Researcher at the Observatory on Borderless Higher Education. She previously held positions as International Partnerships Manager at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea and Communications Specialist at the Barcelona Graduate School of Economics, and has extensive experience in both research and practice in TNE.  She holds a B.Sc. from Tufts University, an Ed.M. in International Education Policy from Harvard University and is a PhD candidate in Higher Education Internationalisation expected 2022) at University of Groningen. 




Twitter: @rachaelmerola


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