Outdoor Recreation and Park Visitation Among Study Abroad Malaysian Students In The United States

Open Access
Hng, Lee Ying
Area of Honors:
Recreation and Park Management
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Andrew Justin Mowen, Thesis Supervisor
  • Andrew Justin Mowen, Honors Advisor
  • Alan R Graefe, Faculty Reader
  • Acculturation
  • Socialization
  • Malaysian
  • Outdoor Recreation
  • Park
  • Transnationalism
  • Study Abroad
Despite the substantial research on the leisure of international immigrants, limited efforts have been devoted to understanding a community of international students residing in the United States, who are primarily classified as temporary migrants and/or students. This study attempts to fill this gap by assessing outdoor recreation participation rate and national/ state park visitation among Malaysian undergraduate students who spend 3 to 4 years of study abroad at United States universities. The theories of acculturation, transnationalism, transformative power of study abroad and socialization were employed as the theoretical framework to explain the changes of leisure behavior and intention of Malaysian students. The data were obtained through an online questionnaire responded by Malaysian students enrolled in United States universities. Subjects’ participation rate in outdoor recreation and visitation to national/ state parks before they came to United States, during their years in United States and their intentions upon returning to Malaysia were queried; subjects’ acculturation and socialization, too, were measured. The findings revealed that Malaysian students who were more acculturated to the American culture and had higher level of university club involvement reported more frequent episodes in outdoor recreation and park use during their study abroad. Transnationalism and transformative power of study abroad were also evidenced as study results showed that the United States experience had some impact on their outdoor recreation and park perspectives as well as their behavioral intentions upon returning home. The university curricula, leisure and recreation providers and students’ home country government are encouraged to promote outdoor recreation and park visitation in order to provide a better quality of study abroad experience and welcome them back with more participation in nature-related recreation activities upon return home.