International student
According to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), international students are those who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of tertiary study. Despite that, the definition of international students varies in each country in accordance to their own national education system. Below are several definitions of international students;
‘International Students’ are defined as those studying onshore only with visa subclasses 570 to 575, excluding students on Australian-funded scholarships or sponsorship or students undertaking study while in possession of other temporary visas.

United States
‘Foreign students’ are defined as students who are enrolled at institutions of higher education in the US who are not citizens of the US, immigrants or refugees.

‘International students’ are defined as foreign nationals who study at any Japanese university, graduate school, junior college, college of technology, professional training college or university preparatory course on a ‘college student’ visa, as defined by the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act.

Based on the definitions above, international students are basically referring to those studying in foreign educational institutions. This includes either those doing the long term or the short term programs.

Other examples of definitions of international students can be found in World Education Services(Appendix A).

Top Source Countries

Top two source countries for international students are China and India with 441,186 and 170,255 globally mobile students respectively in 2008. The key drivers of mobility of Chinese and Indian students are quite similar. On the supply side, two key drivers are increasing prosperity, which enables the ability to afford foreign education, and rapid expansion of the system of higher education at the expense of quality. On the demand side, two key drivers are universities’ aggressive approach to recruiting students to compensate for budget cuts and access to a wider range of recruitment channels and service providers.


Prospective international students are usually required to sit for language tests, such as IELTS
IELTS , or 'International English Language Testing System', is an international standardised test of English language proficiency. It is jointly managed by University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations, the British Council and IDP Education Pty Ltd, and was established in 1989.There are two versions of...

The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL , evaluates the ability of an individual to use and understand English in an academic setting....

A dele or deleatur is a proofreading symbol used to mark something for deletion.-Name:Dele, the more common term in modern American English , coincides with the imperative form of the Latin delere...

, before they are admitted. Tests notwithstanding, while some international students already possess an excellent command of the local language upon arrival, some find their language ability, considered excellent domestically, inadequate for the purpose of understanding lectures, and/or of conveying oneself fluently in rapid conversations.

Destinations of International Students

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in their 2009 World Conference on Higher Education report, there were more than 2.5 million students studying outside their own country. UNESCO also predicted that the number of international students might rise approximately to 7 million by year 2020. The main destinations preferred by international students are the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia. Overall, the number of international students more than doubled between 2000 and 2007, to over 2 million; the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Australia are the main destination countries.
However, the sharpest percentage increases of international students have occurred in New Zealand, Korea, the Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Italy and Ireland.

In recent years, some Asian and Middle East countries started to attract more international students. These regions have entered the market with declared ambitions to become regional education centers by attracting as many as several hundred thousand international students to their countries.

United States, United Kingdom and Australia

The US, UK and Australia are countries that have the highest number of international students. In terms of straight numbers, the US is the undisputed front-runner with approximately 671,616 foreign enrollment in 2008-9, followed by the UK and Australia, respectively with 330,000 and 280, 000 registered overseas students.

International student mobility in the first decade of the 21st century has been transformed by two major external events, 9/11 and the recession of 2008. The 9/11 forced US to tighten visa requirements for students and Australia and the UK cashed in on this opportunity and were successful in absorbing most of the growth in international students. The growth story for Australia and the UK would have continued, but the recession of 2008 exposed two aspects of international student enrollment in these countries--unmanageable high proportion of international students compared to home students and issues of quality raised by the use of aggressive recruitment practices. In 2009, international students represented 21.5% and 15.3% of higher education enrollment in Australia and the UK, compared to less than 4% in the US, according to the OECD.

International students from China in significantly increasing numbers are coming to universities in the US. In 2009, there were nearly 100,000 Chinese students in US universities.

The number of US Visas issued to Chinese students to study at US universities has increased by 30 per cent over last year, from more than 98,000 in 2009 to nearly 128,000 in October 2010, placing China as the top country of origin for international students, according to the "2010 Open Doors Report" published on the US Embassy in China website.
The number of Chinese students increased, Overall, the total number of international students with a US Visa to study at colleges and universities increased by 3 per cent to a record high of nearly 691,000 in the 2009/2010 academic year.
The 30 per cent increase in Chinese student enrolment was the main contributor to this year's growth, and now Chinese students account for more than 18 percent of the total international students.

U.S. colleges and universities have long welcomed students from China, where the higher-education system cannot meet the demand. Three years ago, a record 10 million students throughout China took the national college entrance test, competing for 5.7 million university slots. Because foreign undergraduates typically fail to qualify for U.S. federal aid, colleges here can provide limited financial help. Now, thanks to China's booming economy in recent years, more Chinese families can afford to pay.
U.S. colleges also face challenges abroad. Worries about fraud on test scores and transcripts make occasional headlines. And even Chinese students who test high on an English-language proficiency test may not be able to speak or write well enough to stay up to speed in a U.S. classroom, where essay writing and discussions are common.

Germany and France

In 2006, with approximately 20% of world’s foreign students, or 515,000 out of the 2.7 million students studying outside their countries, Germany and France are best understood as secondary higher education destinations.

Japan, Canada and New Zealand

Japan, Canada and New Zealand are perceived as evolving destinations for international students. In 2006, Japan, Canada and New Zealand together shared roughly 13% of the international student market, with approximately 327,000 of the 2.7 million students who traveled abroad for the purposes of higher education. Canada has seen a large increase in the number of India students, where the number of Indian students rose 280% in 2010 compared to 2008. Organizations such as Learnhub
LearnHub is a social learning network for international education run by Savvica Inc., an online learning company based in Toronto, Canada. The website was launched in 2008 to help Indian students find higher education. It offers test preparation tools, a university program directory, student...

 are taking advantage of this growing trend of Indian international students by providing recruitment services that bring Indian students abroad.

Malaysia, Singapore and China

Malaysia, Singapore and China are the emerging destinations for international students. These three countries have combined share of approximately 12% of the global student market with somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 students having decided to pursue higher education studies in these countries in 2005-6.

The flow of international students above indicates the South-North phenomenon. In this sense, students from Asia prefer to pursue their study particularly in the United States.

The recent statistics on mobility of international students can be found in;

The Challenges for International Students

The challenges confronting international students in today’s academic environments across secondary, tertiary, graduate, and postgraduate levels are growing. In schools where English is the sole language of instruction, international students are expected to assimilate not just a language but a culture. The truth of the matter is that there are wide disparities in the expectations of educational institutions in different nations with regard to the manner through which their students are supposed to accomplish academic writing requirements. These disparities include writing style, structures, referencing, and even policies on academic honesty. The international student therefore, is often are thrust into classrooms where they are expected to complete academic writing tasks according to the cultural sensibilities that their teachers expect such work to be accomplished which the international student may be completely unaware of. This can be very difficult for the typical international student, especially if his or her confidence with the use of the English language in academic writing is still not that strong. Problems with an international student’s spelling and grammar in the English language can wreak havoc on his or her academic performance, even if he or she does have insightful ideas to express on paper. .
Most international students encounter difficulties of language issue. Such issue blocks the chance for international students to get to know people from the countries they went in deep and it makes it hard for them to learn the new culture when they are not able to make domestic friends. Sometimes it would cause ignorance and disrespect toward international students who could not use the second language effectively.
International students have several challenges in their academic studies at north American universities. Studies have shown that these challenges come from different sources: students’’ inadequate English proficiency; their unfamiliarity with the North American culture; their lack of appropriate study skills or strategies; their academic leaning anxiety; their low social self-efficacy; their financial difficulties; and their separation from family and friends.Do some female Chinese international students willingly choose to be invisible and silent in their American classes? If not, what makes them invisible and silent in their American classes? Despite the general perception that American culture is characterized more by diversity than by homogeneity, the American ideology of cultural homogeneity implies an American mindset that because Eurocentric culture are superior to others, people with different cultures should conform to the dominant monocultural canon and norms.

See also

  • Study abroad
    Study abroad
    Studying abroad is the act of a student pursuing educational opportunities in a country other than one's own. This can include primary, secondary and post-secondary students...

  • Student exchange program
    Student exchange program
    A student exchange program generally could be defined as a program where students from secondary school or university choose to study abroad in partner institutions...

  • Fulbright Program
    Fulbright Program
    The Fulbright Program, including the Fulbright-Hays Program, is a program of competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists, founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946. Under the...

  • Apprentices mobility
    Apprentices mobility
    Apprentices mobility is the movement of students and teachers in Vocational education or training to another institution inside or outside their own country to study or teach for a limited time...

  • EducationUSA
    EducationUSA is a global network of more than 400 advising centers supported by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State...

  • Erasmus programme
    Erasmus programme
    The Erasmus Programme , a.k.a. Erasmus Project is a European Union student exchange programme established in 1987...

  • F-1 Visa
  • Goodwill Scholarships
    Goodwill Scholarships
    Goodwill Scholarships are college-level scholarships created and fully funded starting in 2003 by two private citizens in Prince William County, Virginia, to aid international students who study at the Northern Virginia Community College ....

  • Immigration
    Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

  • International Baccalaureate
  • International education
    International education
    International education can mean many different things and its definition is debated. Some have defined two general meanings according to its involvement of students...

  • International Students Day
  • ISIC
    ISIC is a four-letter acronym that may stand for:* Information Music ....

  • Japanese students in Britain
  • Monbukagakusho Scholarship
    Monbukagakusho Scholarship
    is a prestigious scholarship offered by the Monbu-kagaku-shō.To date, some 65,000 students from approximately 160 countries and regions around the world have studied in Japan under the Japanese Government Scholarship program established in 1954...

  • Vulcanus in Japan
    Vulcanus in Japan
    The Vulcanus in Japan programme, established in 1997, is an industry-oriented student exchange program for EU students. It was established by the EU-Japan Centre for Industrial Cooperation, a joint venture between the European Commission and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry...

  • Student migration
    Student migration
    Student migration is the movement of students who study outside their country of birth or citizenship for a period of 12 months or more. During the period of globalisation, the internationalisation of higher education increased dramatically and it has become a market driven activity...


  • American International Education Foundation (AIEF)
  • Amizade
    Amizade Global Service Learning, usually known simply as Amizade, is a United States-based non-profit organization that provides service-learning and volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups across the world...

  • Brethren Colleges Abroad
    Brethren Colleges Abroad
    Brethren Colleges Abroad is a fully accredited student exchange program affiliated with the Church of the Brethren. BCA offers opportunities to study abroad for a single semester or a full academic year...

  • International Union of Students
    International Union of Students
    The International Union of Students is a worldwide nonpartisan association of university student organizations.The IUS is the umbrella organization for 155 such student organizations across 112 countries and territories representing approximately 25 million students.-Aim and work areas:The aims of...

  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
    NAFSA: Association of International Educators
    NAFSA: Association of International Educators is a non-profit professional organization for professionals in all areas of international education including education abroad advising and administration, international student advising, campus internationalization, admissions, outreach, overseas...

  • PFL Education
    PFL Education
    PFL EducationPFL Education was founded in 1997 and incorporated as a Private Limited Company in the UK in 1999.PFL claims to be one of the fastest growing international education services in the world, with staff in the the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and...

Further reading

  • Orleans, Leo A., Chinese Students in America: Policies, Issues, and Numbers, National Academies Press
    National Academies Press
    National Academies Press was created by the United States National Academies, to publish the reports issued by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. It publishes nearly 200 books a year on a wide range...

    , US National Academies, Office of International Affairs (OIA), 1988.

External links

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