Why the UK, US and Canada are still the hot choices among international students?

The enigma in the selection of overseas study destinations - Why the UK, US and Canada are still the hot choices among international students?

With the advent of globalization, inward and outward mobility among student folk has become a common trend worldwide. Along with the traditional major players, so many small nations also feature as significant student destinations for higher study options nowadays.

Which country I should select for my overseas study is perhaps the million-dollar question, quite often one may come across in his quest for undergraduate and postgraduate study options in an abroad destination. Let us look at the below statistics as to which are the popular countries of preference by international students and what kind of enrollment happens every year.

Country The average number of international student enrollment
UK 605,130
US 710,210
Canada 621,565
Australia 47,703
New Zealand 52,555
Germany 64,000
Italy 32,000 - 35,000

The rationale for choosing the study destination is influenced by several factors. While analysing such factors, we come across the conclusion that there is a certain uniformity in the criteria which decides the mobility trends, be it inward or outward, among the international students irrespective of the region.

Immigration Policies and Visa regime in the host country:

The policy towards international students in the host destination is a crucial aspect in selecting the country as a prospective study destination. For example, the government policies can become a boon or bane for the international student community and obviously will influence the extent to which higher education institutions can recruit international students.

The ease in visa issuance, immigration policies, government norms to grant post-study work permits (PSW) and duration of PSWs, possibilities of visa extension, dependent visa norms, government permission for carrying out part-time work while pursuing studies, employable potential, etc. are some of the deciding factors in selecting a destination.

Linguistic Factors:

Availability of English taught programs is yet another aspect. The availability of a wide choice of English taught programs, the opportunity to communicate in English with peers and natives and the multi-language speaking community in the host country are the advantages which make the UK US and Canada at the leading edge of student mobility. 

Scope of gaining transversal competency:

The significant increase in student outflow across the globe is not just for want of better quality of education or higher standard of living, rather it is more connected to their desire for acquiring transversal skills which is a  subdued factor, as far as student mobility is concerned.
From a sociological perspective, education in a foreign land sharpens a student's personality traits for having a better predisposition for employability in an international arena. It improves their soft skills, adaptability to different cultures, and mastery over multiple languages. The international student gets an opportunity to look at the world from a different angle, while they study and interact with peers from different cultures.

These kinds of soft skills the students develop a k a transversal competency is considered increasingly important in today’s organizations because they need to become more agile to address business needs and remain competitive.

Academic reputation and quality of education:

Availability a well as accreditation of courses, worldwide recognition of degrees, reputation and ranking of universities, geographic location, modern infrastructure, advanced and updated curriculum, and opportunities for academic exchange are certain other obvious reasons to select the developed countries as the chosen destination by international students.

The availability of a good cultural mix of student community and affordability of education is the other criteria for the selection of a particular country for future studies.

How welcoming the society is in their host country is another matter of concern among students which is manifested in their country selections. The receptivity a student gets in a country plays a vital role in mobility. Safety of students, racism-free campuses and an amazing cultural mix are some other attractions among the international student community.

For the student community from Asia and Africa continents the UK, USA and Canada remain the major choices based on the above-cited factors, and along with them, the other emerging attractions are  Italy, Germany and other European Union countries as well. The relaxation of post-study work permit norms and introduction of the graduate route in the UK, SDS and express entry system in Canada, extension for post-study work permits on STEM disciplines in the US, etc.

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