To critically evaluate undergraduates’ motivations for pursuing a Hospitality and Tourism Management internship abroad
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Aim This research investigates into critically evaluating the motivations of International Hospitality and Tourism Management (IHTM) undergraduate students from Queen Margaret University (QMU), to undertake internships abroad. Design and Methodological Choices This study has undertaken a mixed method approach using a questionnaire and semi structured interviews to collect primary data. With that being said, the questionnaire undertook a random sampling technique (probability) whereas the semi-structured interviews undertook a purposive heterogenous sampling technique (non-probability). Moreover, the mixed method approach received 31 responses for the questionnaire and 5 semi-structured interview participants. It is also important to note that the explanatory sequential design was used to create the semi-structured interview questions. The interviews have been analysed using a thematical approach, which created the apparent themes analysed and discussed in chapter 4. Moreover, the data collected has been analysed in the discussion section using the triangulation approach. Key Findings This research agreed with Coker and Porter’s (2015) view of “one size does not fit all”, as the findings show that all students who have or will undertake an internship are doing it for a different motivation. Motivations were clearly unique to individuals and further ranged from personal to professional growth. Additionally, it became apparent that ‘to travel and explore’ was the most popular motivation in regard to undertaking an internship abroad, with cultural awareness growth being the second most important. Moreover, from the motivational parameters which were created by analysing the secondary data, and then presented in the questionnaire, all the motivational factors which were present, had been indicated by at least one student. This can further be seen from the responses received in the interviews, where all the participants had indicated a different reason for their motivations for undertaking an internship.