School students abroad: Transnational human capital and inequality

Since globalization requires intercultural competences and foreign language knowledge, called “Transnational human capital”, the opportunity to spend a year abroad for school students might be an important factor for future opportunities of the adolescents. While the access of university students to exchange opportunities has been investigated in several cases, the situation for school students remains largely unexplored. Jürgen Gerhards and Silke Hans investigated data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) to test some hypotheses based on the literature on the sociology of education and the work of Pierre Bourdieu. Their findings indicate that the likelihood of studying abroad is determined by the capital available to the parents, by the cultural capital and the commitment of the child, by the opportunity structure, and by family conflicts. The attendance of a ”Gymnasium” has crucial filtering functions.Finally, the economic capital of the child’s parents plays an important role for children’s opportunities to acquire transnational human capital through studying abroad.

Abstract (no open access):Transnational Human Capital, Education, and Social Inequality. Analyses of International Student Exchange | Gerhards | Zeitschrift für Soziologie.

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