Top factors students consider when choosing international study destinations

When looking to study abroad, there are several factors students take into consideration when choosing a destination to pursue higher education.

A recent survey from global education company IDP Education found that Canada is the top destination of choice for 27% of students. The United States came in second with 20% of surveyed students indicating it is their preferred destination, and the UK and Australia rounded out the top four with 19% respectively.

IDP’s research also showed that students consider several elements when deciding on a study destination. The top three factors identified by students in the survey are high quality of education, good employment opportunities after graduation and support for international students.

“The results of this comprehensive research are clear, for competing destinations to remain competitive they must deliver a positive experience and positive outcomes for students, whilst improving the ways in which they communicate this with future students,” Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, told The PIE News.

“Tomorrow’s international students are motivated by the return on investment of their education,” he said. “The countries in which institutions, governments and, most importantly, employers can work together to develop the right offer to students and best practices in post-study employment, will benefit the most from the next generation of skilled and higher education students, in turn fulfilling their labor market needs and the needs of their economies.”

In the IDP study, Canada ranked the highest with respondents in the perception of destinations in terms of the welfare of international students, post-study work visa policies, graduate employment opportunities and value for money, and was in the top three for quality of education.

“Across all large markets it is a combination of quality of education and post-study employment opportunities that are driving the selection of their first-choice destination,” Jonah Duffin, Director of External Relations at IDP Connect, told The PIE News.

The survey also asked what students hoped to do after graduating – the highest-ranking response with 32% was working in their chosen study destination. And while 19% of students surveyed said they would seek permanent residency in the country they chose as their study destination, that rose to 30% among students who chose to study in Canada.

“When we asked what motivates respondents to study internationally, those intending to go to Canada responded that career development, education quality and knowledge were their key motivators and migration was ranked eighth on the list of motivations,” Duffin said. “This highlights that is it too simplistic to simply see Canada as a migration destination, students are looking at a range of factors and ultimately, they want to be well equipped by a high-quality education to fulfill their career aspirations in a welcoming and supportive environment.”

Global University Systems (GUS) Canada has five institutions across the country – University Canada West (UCW), Toronto School of Management (TSoM), Trebas Institute, Canadian College of Technology and Business, and The Language Gallery – in addition to public-private partnerships with Niagara College – Toronto and Fleming College Toronto.

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