Press Release

A New Book Analyzes International Student Mobility Trends in Higher Education

New Report Examines Mobility Patterns at Secondary and Tertiary Levels and Provides Analysis of Student Motivations

NEW YORK, April 14, 2011—A new book released today assesses the factors and trends that have led 3.3 million students around the world to study in a country beyond their own. Who Goes Where and Why: An Overview and Analysis of Global Educational Mobility by Caroline Macready and Clive Tucker tackles the scale and range of global educational mobility over the past decade. The new book is the fifth in a series of timely Global Education Research Reports published through a partnership between the Institute of International Education (IIE) and the American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation, and can be purchased at the IIE bookstore online. 

While international mobility among students and scholars is not a new phenomenon, new trends have emerged in the last ten years that continue to shape a rapidly changing landscape in international higher education. Macready and Tucker explore the complexity of these trends in depth and anticipate possible changes to student mobility patterns in the future. The book also provides a thorough analysis of the Exchange Visitor Program in the United States, using statistics provided to the authors by the U.S. Department of State.

Previous books in this series have examined higher education initiatives and exchanges in China and India and new developments in the expanding knowledge economy of the Middle East, as well as the effects of recent developments in higher education, the world economy, and government policy on global student and scholar mobility. The Global Education Research Reports series is a joint effort of IIE and the AIFS Foundation to explore the most pressing and under-researched issues affecting international education policy today.

Who Goes Where and Why sets out to answer several central questions in global mobility, specifically whether the worldwide growth in international student mobility is likely to continue; which destination will likely see their shares of the international student market increase and which diminish; which origin countries and regions are most likely to increase their numbers of outgoing international students in the future; and why students study outside their home country. In addition, Macready and Tucker consider the impact of national policies in major host or sending countries, and identify the practices that help or keep countries from meeting their mobility aims.

“The authors’ analyses and conclusions aim to inform discussion and illustrate for governments and educators alike the physical flows of internationally mobile students across national borders,” says Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO of IIE. The book includes forewords from Dr. Goodman and AIFS Founder and Chairman Sir Cyril Taylor GBE.

“We believe that the study is crucial because it highlights how student mobility has been impacted by the global recession yet illustrates that we are poised for inevitable growth as more students demand educational mobility,” said William L. Gertz, President and CEO of AIFS.

The book also discusses the rise of economic powers like China and India as they build the capacity of their higher education systems and seek to develop more world class universities and draw in more top tier students and scholars. While Who Goes Where and Why takes a close look at tertiary education, the authors also delve into non-tertiary education, including secondary school and vocational education, relating both important mobility models and gaps in data in this under-studied arena.

Table of Contents follows.


Institute of International Education

The Institute of International Education is a world leader in the international exchange of people and ideas. An independent, not-for-profit organization founded in 1919, IIE has network of 18 offices worldwide and over 1,100 member institutions. IIE designs and implements programs of study and training for students, educators, young professionals and trainees from all sectors with funding from government agencies, foundations, and corporations. IIE also conducts policy research and program evaluations, and provides advising and counseling on international education and opportunities abroad.

The American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation

The American Institute For Foreign Study (AIFS) Foundation, an independent, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity, was established in 1967 to help young people from many nations and diverse cultures to better understand one another. The AIFS Foundation provides grants to high schools and institutions to encourage international and educational travel. The AIFS Foundation also sponsors the Academic Year in America (AYA) program, which enables international teenage students to live with an American host family while attending the local high school.

The American Institute For Foreign Study

Founded in 1964, the American Institute For Foreign Study is one of the largest and most experienced cultural exchange organizations in the world. With global offices in 5 countries, AIFS organizes cultural exchange programs for more than 50,000 participants each year. AIFS programs include college study abroad, au pair placement, international camp staffing, gifted education, high school study/travel and insurance services. More than one million students and teachers have participated in AIFS programs worldwide.

Table of Contents: Who Goes Where and Why: An Overview and Analysis of Global Educational Mobility


Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO, IIE
Sir Cyril Taylor, Founder and Chairman, AIFS

Part I: An Overview and Analysis of Global Educational Mobility

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: Introduction and Key Points

Scope of the study
Why is student mobility important?
A future of continuing growth?
A changing pattern of supply and demand?

Chapter 2: Global Student Mobility in Tertiary Education

The scale of global mobility
Where do international students go?
Where do international students come from?
At what level of tertiary education do international students study?
In what fields of study do international students enroll?
Shorter-term tertiary mobility

Chapter 3: Global Student Mobility in Non-tertiary Education

Mobility at secondary school level
Postsecondary non-tertiary education, including vocational education
Mobility of professors and other academic staff, researchers, and scholars
Mobility of teachers
Other movers for educational purposes

Chapter 4: Why Students Move and How they Choose Destinations

Why students move: Push factors
Why students may not move: Anti-push factors
How students decide where to go: Pull factors

Chapter 5: The Impact of National Policies

The United States of America
United Kingdom
New Zealand
South Africa
Conclusions on the Impact of National Policies

Part II

Country Study: United States
Appendix A: Regions Used in U.S. Country Study
Authors’ Note
About the Authors
IIE Information and Resources
Web Resources
Programs of the AIFS Foundation
Programs of the American Institute For Foreign Study


Media Contact

Sharon Witherell
Director, Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5380

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Public Affairs
Tel: +1 212.984.5360

IIE Experts

IIE experts on international education are available for interviews or speaking engagements.

Dr. Allan E. Goodman
President and CEO

Peggy Blumenthal 
Senior Counselor to the President

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