These days, there is a widespread and wide-ranging conversation about globalisation; but only by visiting classrooms in every corner of the world can you see it in action. International students around the world are part of a movement bigger than themselves – a movement involving millions of people at thousands of campuses.
At the moment there are more than 5 million students pursuing their education outside of their home countries – a number three times that of international student enrolments in 1990. By 2022, the number of internationally mobile students is expected to reach 7 million. The most significant growth in international education comes from Asian students, who are looking to study abroad in English.
International education is now open to the masses, and no longer only available the world’s elite. This expansion is particularly driven by a rising middle class that now exists on every continent.
Student mobility, like many other economics and social principles, follows the laws of offer and demand: The popularity of study destinations corresponds to the number of globally-appealing programmes that different countries offer, such as the United States, United Kingdom and Australia. These are, unsurprisingly, also the countries with the highest number of English-taught programmes around the world.
China’s and India’s rise to the world’s top 10 most powerful economies (and South Korea currently holding the 15th place) has given rise to an increased demand for higher education. These three countries are also leading sources of globally mobile students. One in every six international students now comes from China, while Asian students make up more than a quarter of the world’s mobile students.
International education is not a static phenomenon; it is influenced by international politics, changing demographics and economic factors.
What do we expect to see in the coming year, based on our expert insights and the mountain of data we have gathered on international study choice? Here are our top predictions for the year, including:
- The sharp increase of English-taught Bachelor degrees in Europe;
- Asia increasingly becoming a strong player not just in sending students abroad, but also receiving them;
- Universities putting more emphasis on student diversity and having the right mix of students on campus
- Placing a strong emphasis on responsive university websites
- Big data informing more marketing decisions for universities
- Embracing 24/7 recruitment around the year
- Brexit making a strong impact on the what the future of international education will look like in the next years
- Shifting trends in discipline and sub-discipline popularity
- ROI in student recruitment activities receiving more attention this year
- Alternative access routes becoming more popular for universities with a strong international focus