How many students study abroad?
Over the past three decades, the number of international students has grown substantially, from 0.8 million worldwide in 1975 to 3.3 million in 2008, a more than four-fold increase. This growth has accele-rated since the late 1990s, mirroring the globalization of economies and societies.
Data on international and foreign students are based on the UOE data collection on education statistics, administered annually by the OECD. Data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics are also included. Students are classified as "international" if they left their country of origin and moved to another country to study. Students are classified as "foreign" if they are not citizens of the country in which they are studying.
In 2008, over 3.3 million students were enrolled outside their country of citizenship, representing an increase of nearly 11% on the previous year. Just over 79% of students worldwide who study abroad do so in OECD countries. Asians account for almost 49% of all students studying abroad in the OECD area.
OECD countries attract the bulk of students who study abroad worldwide - just slightly under four out of five. A number of those students (31%) are themselves from other OECD countries: Of the total number of students studying abroad in the OECD area, 2.4% come from France 3.4% from Germany 2.1% from Japan, 4.6% from Korea and 1.8% each from Canada and the United States.
The biggest single source country is China, which accounts for 17.1% of all students -studying abroad in the OECD area (or 18.5% if Hong Kong, China is included).
Asia is the biggest source area at just under 49% of the total in OECD countries. Their presence is particularly strong in Australia, Japan and Korea, where they account for more than 75% of international and foreign students.
In the OECD area, the Asian group is followed by the Europeans, accounting for 24.5% of international and foreign students, followed by Africa with 10.1%, South -America with 5.3% and North America with 3.7%.
There are big variations between countries in the percentage of international students enrolled in their tertiary student body. In Australia, international students represent 20.6% of tertiary students; 15.5% in Austria; 12.9% in New Zealand; 14.1% in Switzerland; and 14.7% in the United Kingdom.
Why study abroad?
A recent BC survey found that when choosing a country, just over half of the students put quality of education in their top three priorities. Just over a quarter (26.3 per cent) see the reputation of a country’s universities as a key factor.
59 percent of the prospective British students said they considered quality of education the top priority – the highest rating of any destination country on that criterion.
Prospective USA students were most likely to focus on enhancing their career prospects (38 percent).
Prospective Australia or Canada students were more inclined than others to see the opportunity to work while studying as a key consideration (24 percent), while those seeking a place in Germany were most likely to mention low tuition fees as a priority (25 percent).
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