Mobility intentions of students: the influence of family and dating relations

Tom De Winter, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Helga A. G. de Valk, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel

European policy makers have encouraged European mobility in order to among others stimulate European integration. This is for example reflected in the student exchange programme for higher education Erasmus+. Although this program starts from the assumption of free mobility for all, the migration literature has pinpointed several determinants for migration and mobility. Family has for example been identified as an important factor for migration intentions and decisions: family relations are found to be a decisive factor in being mobile, or to not being mobile. Despite this reported importance of family on migration decisions in general, the existing literature on student mobility and its determinants has not yet paid full attention to the influence of family. As far as they have been studied they usually focus on parental background characteristics and no attention has been paid to (dating) partner relations. This is surprising as students are in a phase of life in which both family relations and partner relations are key in their lives. It is also in this phase of young adulthood when partner (dating) relationships often emerge and many find their partners during studies. In this paper we aim to study the role of dating partnerships for mobility intentions of first year students both during studies and mobility intention after graduation. We do so by using recent survey data (fall 2015) among 507 first year university students in Brussels. First results indicate that student mobility and mobility after graduation are linked. At the same time they are driven by different sets of determinants. Especially for mobility intentions during studies, having a dating partner seems to lower the probabilities of opting for being internationally mobile. This points to the importance of early partnerships for European mobility and the potential selectiveness of migration already in a young stage of life.

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Presented in Poster Session 3