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Study Abroad Promotional Tactics: Program Providers in Critical Language Host Countries Open Access

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As rationales of United States (U.S.) national security interests are cited as reasons to increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad, it is useful to understand how providers of study abroad programs are reacting to perceived demand. U.S. agencies including the Department of Defense and the Department of State emphasize increasing the number of speakers of critical languages in the country through funding study abroad initiatives. This thesis seeks to understand how study abroad providers define a target student audience and conduct outreach campaigns to attain enrollment for critical language programs. Specifically, providers of programs to countries that speak Arabic, Chinese, and Russian are examined through online survey, website review, and phone interviews. Findings suggest that providers target high-achieving students from particular academic concentrations and conduct an array of outreach activities in conjunction with university partnership-building. These targeting and outreach practices are in response to real and perceived challenges in the market for critical language study abroad programs. A secondary aim for this study was to catalog marketing processes used by providers and share these resources as best practices in the field.

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