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British Council: new Student Insights report

Education agents are more likely to be used by international students in key source countries considering postgraduate (PG) study rather than undergraduate (UG). This is one observation gleaned from the latest Student Insight findings, produced by the British Council’s Education Intelligence unit, which cover India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt and Turkey.

International students (such as these) were surveyed for insight into their decision-making processes for why they choose an institution and country. photo: University of Roehampton, UK.

"Being sensitive to cultural distinctions can make for a more nuanced and impactful recruitment strategy"

Almost half of all students in Turkey choose their international study destination based primarily on a perception of what potential employers will value. In Indonesia, accessibility to scholarships is the most significant decision-making factor, and in India, quality of education and the cultural experience are both pertinent considerations.

“Students approach the decision to study at a university overseas differently, depending on what country they are from,” said Elizabeth Shepherd, Research Director for Education Intelligence in Hong Kong. “Being sensitive to those cultural distinctions can make for a more nuanced and impactful recruitment strategy.”

The reports also detail where in each country most prospective students may be based; what their interests and hobbies are and which social networking sites they are most likely to use. (The reports can be purchased online.)

In Pakistan, 72% of respondents interested in pursuing overseas study said they had not studied outside their home country before. Of over 9,000 students surveyed by the British Council team, the majority of Pakistani students interested in overseas study were male, with over four times more male students than female students interested in undergraduate (UG) study.

Only 3% of Indians surveyed wanted to move overseas permanently

In India, the British Council team discovered that Indians valued quality of education but also considered career prospects, internationally recognised qualifications and the cultural experience of living overseas. When it came to selecting an individual institution, quality of the course and career prospects dominated the decision-making process.

And one statistic revealed that would spice up the immigration debate was that only 3% of Indians surveyed (over 10,000) wanted to move overseas permanently.

Highlights of the Egyptian research include the fact that roughly 82% of Egyptian survey respondents who indicated interest in studying overseas were at the postgraduate level and over 60% of these were currently employed. And 53% of students did their own research into study options; no UG-bound students used the services of an agency, although some did for PG study.

Among Indonesians, the British Council and education exhibitions were among the most used information sources. And in Turkey, the website/prospectus of an awarding institution was rated as the single most important information source.

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