International Education

A growing body of empirical research suggests that better education results in higher individual income, and contributes towards the construction of social capital and long-term economic growth. It is not enough to study a country or a topic in a classroom setting – you need to go and experience what you study. Also, it’s important to not be in a bubble. Part of not being in a bubble is venturing out and discovering the world. And in that process of learning about the world, you will actually learn a lot about yourself, as you engage with people that you encounter, in subject matters in different ways and with a different lens. In the process, you will grow intellectually, personally, and socially.

Every nation in the world is equipped with some form of education system, though those systems vary greatly. The major factors that affect education systems are the resources and money that are utilized to support those systems, as well as how education is organized and administered to students. As you might expect, a country’s wealth has much to do with the amount of money spent on education. Countries that do not have such basic amenities as running water are unable to support robust education systems or, in many cases, any formal schooling at all.

The value that an international education system brings to a country can be categorized in to the following :

  • Enriches the education system
  • Enhances the skills & productivity of the workforce
  • Increases global trade, investment links & international collaboration
  • Supports tourism
  • Increases cultural diversity
  • Generates economic benefit to the country
  • It helps maintain the viability of certain courses, so that domestic students can continue to access them.

The global market for international education is expanding as incomes and participation in education in emerging economies continues to rise. Global demand for international education services has been strong. Growth in demand has mainly come from middle income and populous Asian countries, notably China and India. Today’s generation is seeking an international education as part of their learning experience. This strengthens their academic studies and connects them with other perspectives and ways of doing things that benefits their career development. The primary goals of international education are furthering knowledge and cultural capital, learning about places and cultures, and gaining intercultural skills in the process.

For international students, the key factors that influence where they choose to study include the quality & reputation of an education provider, language of instruction, tuition fees, scholarship programs, cost of living, safety, lifestyle, the presence of student support networks, student visa policy in the host country & the availability of any post-study work rights.

In January 2019, ISC Research reported that there were 10,282 international schools, 5.36 million international students and 503,000 international staff members around the world, with those numbers only set to rise as the demand for international education increases.

The breakdown of international students by chosen study destinations :

Total number of international students that chose to study abroad : 5 Million

Countries Share of International Students
US 22%
UK 10%
China 10%
Australia 7%
Canada 7%
France 7%
Russia 6%
Germany 5%
Others 25%

Source: Project Atlas, UNESCO, 2018

The 4 leading English-speaking study destinations, the US, the UK, Australia and Canada, dominate the international education market. They have also experienced similar growth patterns. However, a number of new countries (study destinations) have also recently experienced strong growth such as Russia, UAE, China, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, South Korea & South Africa.

Following are some of the different types of International Higher Education :

  • Franchising – whereby a Higher Education Institution from one country grants another institution in another country the right to provide their programmes.
  • Programme articulations – whereby inter-institutional agreements are made to jointly design, provide and/or validate a study programme, with credits recognised by both institutions.
  • Branch campus – a campus established by Higher Education institution from another country
  • Off-shore institution
  • Large corporations
  • International institutions
  • Distance learning arrangements and virtual universities

Benefits of an International Education

The importance of an international education is often overlooked by those who have never participated in such a program. An international education has the power to impact a students’ development both on a professional and social-emotional level, making them more willing to avail of opportunities in foreign businesses. It –

  • Opens up newer academic and research avenues that might not be available in a student’s home country
  • Allows students of every discipline to gain a deeper, better-rounded understanding of their subject, which will help them when selecting a career path in that specified field
  • Helps students gain the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to live & work globally, making them more confident & self-reliant
  • Imparts better communication skills across languages and cultures
  • Broadens perspectives, thus enabling students to exhibit more refined decision-making and problem-solving skills—core skills that are relevant in all industries.
  • Helps build a diverse & global network of professional associations with academics, industry experts & recruiters
  • Encourages innovation & ideas across borders
  • Allows one to perceive his/her environment and value-system as one of many legitimate and authentic world-views
  • Helps students become open-minded individuals, which is a very crucial mindset to have in our global world and for our future careers. Having the ability to collaborate with a group of people from all around the world is a skill for life.
  • Helps acquire thorough project management skills
  • Provides an opportunity to explore the world in a way that would otherwise be unavailable.
  • Affords students the opportunity to secure better career prospects and succeed in professional lives.

“QS Global Employer Survey” noted that 62% of employers reported that they considered international education as part of their recruitment process. Work-ready skills are likely to gain more significance in the global job market which is increasingly high tech, service oriented, and reorganized to involve greater employee participation in the workplace. It is a widely established belief that education programs which offer exposure to a foreign environment contribute to personal and professional capacity building & hence enjoy more employability in the global job market.


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