“In terms of perceptions, some of them take a very long time to change”
The 2018 International Student Buyer Behaviour Research paper, which surveyed almost 3,000 students on their perceptions of the major Anglophone destinations excluding Ireland, saw Canada retain its position as most desirable in four of the five indicators: affordability, safety, graduate employment and visa requirements.
The US retained its lead for quality of education, as most indicators saw limited movement. Only three changes were registered in the overall influences from 2017, as the UK and Australia improved in safety, and the US worsened in affordability to tie for last with the UK.
Lyndell Jacka, head of research at IDP, said the unchanged results were not surprising and reflected a year of stability in areas such as international education policy.
“What we saw was very little change and it just reflects the market conditions of the US dollar getting stronger, and perceptions around safety rebalanced after some of what happened over the previous 12 months,” she said.
“In terms of perceptions, some of them take a very long time to change… and every year it’s a new set of students coming through.”
Beneath the surface, however, there were some changes. Lack of family or friends in country dissuaded fewer respondents from studying in Canada and New Zealand, which Jacka attributed to an increase in students in both destinations encouraging more students to come.
Interestingly, New Zealand’s graduate employment indicator remained steady, despite indications post-study work would be drastically cut at last year’s New Zealand International Education Conference.
The reasons for the result remain unclear, but Jacka told The PIE News she expected an increase after New Zealand introduced new post-study work rights shortly after the survey period.