Experiencing a new culture, achieving career goals and a sense of adventure are the top three factors driving destination choice for international students, educations.com found in a survey of over 20,000 students.
Teaching quality is in fifth position, while visa issues is only the last of the seven factors the survey found, which include networking and study costs.
“While teaching quality is obvious, it is but a part of it,” educations.com site manager Josh Hopton-Stewart told The PIE News.
“Studying abroad is about so much more than just getting a good degree”
“Additional factors such as a country’s culture, student lifestyle, friendliness of the locals and opportunities for adventure are also considered. And why wouldn’t they be? Studying abroad is about so much more than just getting a good degree.”
With the rise of social media, Hopton-Stewart added, students are starting to “scrutinise” a country’s brand to make their decisions, which is what was captured in the most important driver: experiencing a new culture.
“We predict that countries with strong study councils which are engaged in helping university marketers attract international students using the unique culture of their country as a promotional tool will experience a big rise in popularity,” he said.
Using the seven factors highlighted by students, educations.com ranked destination countries against each factor, using external reports to devise rankings of the best study abroad destinations in the world.
The top-3 global winners are New Zealand, Spain and Thailand, with Spain, Netherlands and Switzerland topping the Europe rankings and Thailand, Japan and Singapore heading up the Asia rankings.
“We analysed other reports (most importantly US World News Best Countries Report, the Expat Insider Report) to assess how closely associated each of the 7 attributes were to a specific nation,” educations.com content editor Sahil Aery said.
“Countries ranking highly on culture were culturally accessible, have a rich history, great food and many cultural attractions. Similarly, countries ranking high for career were high on the lists for job and career, work-life balance and job security.”