As education is an important sector in every national economy, it is arguable that higher education is a key area of interest of both public and private institutions. With globalization, the higher education sector is internationalized through the mobility of the institutions and students alike. International students are increasingly moving to other countries in pursuit of education and other interests such as career opportunities, cultural and social experiences, and even migration.
The present study investigates international students’ motives in studying abroad and the impacts of these different motives on their evaluation of service quality of the institutions where they study. This study attempts to incorporate the motives of their study with the well recognized service quality model, namely SERVQUAL.
This study was empirically conducted in a private higher education institution in Singapore, gathering data from 263 international students who are studying in the business programmes. The survey method was used to gather the required data about the motives, expectations and perceptions as well as the level of satisfaction with the education service provided by the institution under study.
The study found that the students held four kinds of motives: academic & education, career & migration, pleasure & experience and work. The study suggests that educational marketers should consider the role and influence of the motives in evaluating service quality by international students and to develop their education programmes accordingly so that their level of service quality will be enhanced from the perspective of international students.