The global flow of international students
February 3, 2012
The UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) recently published their statistics on the “international flows of mobile students at the tertiary level (ISCED 5 and 6)”.
You can download the full spreadsheet.
Here is a fascinating visualization created by Dr. Tony Gray in my office (click for a larger version):
A couple of observations:
The United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, and Germany, in that order, are the most popular host destinations for international students. This is not surprising for the US and the UK, and it shows what a deliberate and intelligent policy can do for a country like Australia.
It is surprising that Russia and Japan are more successful than Canada in attracting international students. Given the quality and relative affordability of Canada’s universities, we remain an under-performer in this respect.
Of course, regionality and cultural heritage are strong determining features. This can be clearly seen on the graph. Moreover, several countries – Cuba, Singapore, the Czech Republic, UAE, Egypt – are among the top 25 hosts, but strikingly are not among the top five destinations of any of the top 25 student-exporting countries.
In the coming years, demand for post secondary education around the globe will continue to grow, with particularly strong demand coming from India, I expect. I hope that Canada’s role as a destination for international students continues to grow as well – to the benefit of all.