International students on the rise in 2018


Studyportals growth 2018 mailn image

How we are fostering international student enrolment growth in 2018

In 2017, 370k+ students chose to leave their comfort zone and enrol in a university abroad via Studyportals. Their stories and the stories of millions of other students currently studying abroad are the ones that keep us pushing for a more transparent education.

Studying abroad is becoming more popular by the year. Take Canada’s example: in 2014, the Harper government of Canada launched their Comprehensive International Education Strategy. This was a bold plan aiming at attracting 450,000 international researchers and students in Canadian higher education institutions by 2022. In 2017, Canada managed an impressive feat by hosting approximately 495,000 international students, thus surpassing its International Education Strategy goal five years early. That translated into a growth of 41 percent of study permit holders in the country since 2015. These highly focused efforts were motivated by the consensus on the important role that international education and exposure will play in the coming years for the country. As Ed Fast, the former Minister of International Trade of Canada, said, “our government recognizes that international education is a key driver of jobs and prosperity in every region of Canada.”

This steady growth in international enrolments and student numbers is not an isolated success happening only in Canada. More countries and their governments have started to understand the increased value that foreign expertise brings them, especially regarding their economic future. For example:

  • South Korea has been booming in terms of international student numbers, reporting a record growth of 18.8 percent in 2017.
  • Sweden’s government is currently working on developing a new international higher education strategy that would contribute to their “capacity to receive foreign expertise and to the collective knowledge of the world.”

Even markets that have been shaken by the current political climate such as the US and the UK have seen a commendable growth in their international student numbers: the US market has been growing by 104 percent between 2008 and 2016, while the UK has seen a significant rise in its numbers especially due to Chinese student enrolments.

Here at Studyportals, we also have noticed this steadily growing trend in international enrolment and student numbers happening all over the globe. By analysing the supply-demand relation between countries, we can better understand this growing global wave of internationalisation that has been taking over higher education for at least a decade.

In 2017 alone, our specialised 7 portals have helped 28 million students from 203 countries and territories browse, search and compare their study options globally. The goal of our portals is for prospective students to find their perfect educational environment. For 2018, we’re noticing a continuation of this growth pattern. Our forecast for this year is that 38 million users will use our dedicated platforms in search of their study options.

Studyportals user growth 2018

When it comes to enrolments, 370,000 students have found their study of choice through Studyportals in 2017. The growth can be attributed on the one hand to our continuous programme development on our portals in search for global transparency in international education. In 2009, we’ve started with just 1,700 Master’s programmes within Europe. Since then, we’ve taken a more international direction also due to universities offering more internationally oriented curricula.

University staff and professors are also appreciating the benefits of going international with their student body. Studyportals keeps closely in touch with its 3,050+ participating institutions, gaining more insights into what is truly important for universities and their internationalisation strategies. Following a more international agenda seems to be one of the key priorities for higher education institutions worldwide.

On the one hand, international students and international teams broaden and augment individual thinking, injecting new ideas. In  the words of Phil Baty, “as a university, you cannot be world class without being international.” As more universities are adopting more internationally friendly policies, they also become important hubs for collaboration and innovation. Studyportals has diversified its pool of universities and international programmes that are available on the portals, precisely to support this link between what universities have to offer and what students are looking for in this growing market.

A growing number of international students and researchers brings out very tangible benefits, for both society and individuals. A diverse educational scene translates itself into:

  • Having more people educated in multifaceted environments, a fact that helps skills and character development;
  • Blending different approaches and ideas and applying these creative solutions to urgent necessities that otherwise may have been more difficult to solve;
  • Promoting cross-cultural communication and understanding, a reality that contributes to conflict resolutions.

Most importantly, continuing to grow in internationalism within higher education ultimately helps people and society. All those 370,000+ students who have found their dream studies through Studyportals are living proof of why we need to pursue a global vision for education. Their personal transformation and dedication should be the convincing piece for more higher education institutions to invest in their international programme development. And the way they will shape our future should be living proof to us all to actively support internationalism and studying abroad.


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