Australia and Canada Attract More International Students, UK Falls Behind

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Australia and Canada are emerging as top choices for international students, according to a recent survey conducted by IDP. The survey revealed a shift in preferences among global students seeking higher education.

Education Quality Remains a Key Factor:

One of the primary determinants for international students when choosing a study destination is the quality of education. Australia and Canada are now leading in this regard, with students finding them equally appealing. The UK, however, has seen a decline in the perceived quality of education over the past six months.

Australia on the Rise:

According to research conducted by a student recruitment and marketing company, Australia has experienced an increase in popularity among international students. Approximately 2% more students are now choosing Australia as their preferred place of study, while Canada remains a top choice. The UK ranks third, followed by the USA.

IDP’s Survey Observations:

idp education vector logo

IDP conducted its survey, “Emerging Futures,” involving over 10,000 prospective, applied, current, and completed international students from 98 countries. The research highlighted that the quality of education is the most crucial consideration for students when selecting a study destination. However, students’ perceptions of the UK, USA, and Canada have diminished in this aspect since the previous survey in March 2023. Notably, Australia is the only one of the top four destinations to see an increase in the perception of education quality.

Employment Opportunities Matter:

Besides education quality, opportunities for employment after graduation play a significant role in students’ decision-making. Australia is a leader in this area, followed by Canada and the USA. Canada also stands out with its favorable post-study work visa policies.

The Australian Perspective:

According to Catriona Jackson, CEO of Universities in Australia, emphasized the need for more international students to address skill shortages in the Australian economy. The new migration strategy must enable these talented individuals to stay in Australia and contribute their skills to areas where they are needed.

Challenges in the UK:

Current students in the UK reported the lowest satisfaction rates among the top four study destinations, while the US leads in terms of student fulfillment. Simon Emmett, IDP Connect CEO, highlighted that the UK can no longer rely solely on its reputation for high-quality education. Global competition for international students is intense, and perceptions of post-graduation opportunities significantly influence student choices. Emmett stressed the importance of promoting the UK effectively by showcasing the holistic appeal of its universities and providing more reasons for students to choose the UK.

Decline in UK Enrolment:

Data obtained by The PIE News revealed an unexpected decline in UK university enrollment from Indian and Nigerian students. Protecting essential policies such as the graduate visa route becomes crucial to maintaining the UK’s attractiveness.

Jamie Arrowsmith, director of Universities UK International, highlighted the organization’s commitment to promoting the UK and emphasizing the contributions international students make to universities.

Safety and Support Matters:

Safety and support are critical considerations for international students, with 45% of students saying safety as a reason for choosing their destination and 43% of students valuing support for international students.

AI and ChatGPT Influence:

For the first time, IDP asked students about their use of AI and ChatGPT. Notably, students from China were most likely to use ChatGPT for deciding on an institution and assistance with their applications.

The findings of this survey highlights on shifting preferences among international students and the factors influencing their choices, offering valuable insights for educators and policymakers.

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