However, financing the study experience abroad and navigating admission procedures still remains a challenge.
“The main motivations for studying abroad were career-related”
IDP Connect’s latest international student survey also found that although research starts online using search engines, university search websites and the institution’s own website, offline interactions are still valued, with over half of the respondents reported planning to use an education agent.
The survey results captured the voice of over 1,900 prospective students using IDP Connect’s international sites in 12 source markets: Middle East, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil, Latin, America, Russia, Turkey, Korea and China.
Canada was the most popular destination for this sample of respondents, followed by the US, UK and Australia. Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand and Singapore also received significant interest.
The main motivations for studying abroad were career-related – the first being better career prospects upon return to the home country, and secondly, work experience available while studying abroad.
The third most commonly-cited reason was the cultural experience, and the fourth concerned work again, with respondents mentioning post-study opportunities in the host country.
The fifth motivation was interest in a particular university, which the survey said shows how important it is for universities to build and promote their brand overseas.
“Institutions also need to ensure their websites, one of the first points of contact for students, contain all necessary information in an easy-to-navigate format, or risk losing prospective applicants,” it read.
Asked what information they would look for online, respondents mentioned scholarships and funding first, then academic programs offered with entry requirements, financial requirements, and teaching quality.
This mirrors the biggest challenges that respondents reported when planning their international experience: understanding fee, funding and scholarship systems and getting to grips with the international equivalents of entry requirements.
Financial requirements were the biggest concern, followed by language barriers, safety and academic requirements.
“The results show the difficulties students have in navigating financial support and financing their studies abroad”
If online information is essential, off-line help is also crucial to help prospective students navigate these challenges, the survey showed.
Half of the respondents said they intended to enlist the help of an education agent, with their knowledge of the admission process indicated as the most important benefit agents can bring to the table.
Less than half of respondents (43%) said they wished to study entirely in an international university: 28% said their preferred studying in their home country and 29% indicated a blend of overseas and in-country study.
Face-to-face course delivery by far the most popular study mode (66%) but a blend of face to face and online also received a sizeable share of preferences (31%).
Taken together, these results make, on the surface, “a compelling case for some of the many different forms of transnational education,” the report stated.
“Respondents of the survey are mostly prospective students in the enquiry stage, which affects how they answer questions on how much time they want to spend abroad. Their main worry seems to be around admissions procedures and financing their course,” IDP Connect CMO Jonah Duffin explained.
“The results, therefore, show in part a case for continued institution investment in TNE, but they also show the difficulties students have in navigating financial support and financing their studies abroad for the duration of their course.”