International Student Mobility: Theoretical Context and Empirical Evidence From Literature

International Student Mobility: Theoretical Context and Empirical Evidence From Literature

Rashim Wadhwa (Central University of Kashmir, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3451-8.ch002


International student mobility is the core element of the internationalization of higher education. In recent years, a significant change has been observed in the outlook of individuals which is giving a boost to this phenomenon. Within this context, the present chapter analyzed the phenomenon of international student mobility through different approaches by providing critical outlook. An attempt has been made to list the important determinants which influence the decision-making process of international students.
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Internationalization has become a buzz word in the institutions of higher education. The most noticeable indicators of internationalization include flows of students across borders, the establishment of international branches and off-shore campuses now dotting the landscape, especially in developing and middle-income countries. Introduction of academic programs provides an international perspective and cross-cultural skills in the universities of both receiving and exporting countries (Ogachi, 2008). Of all the pathways to the internationalization of higher education, the mobility of students is the most visible, established and significant pathway and is occurring since from centuries (Rajkowa, 2017; Wadhwa 2016a). Over the past three decades, the number of students enrolled outside their country of citizenship has risen dramatically, from 0.8 million worldwide in 1975 to 5 million in 2016—a more than fivefold increase. Moreover, there is speculation that this number will grow to 7.2 million by 2025 (Böhm, Davis, Meares, & Peace, 2002). This staggering statistic indicates that student mobility will continue to expand and thus new pathways of internationalization are emerging to meet this demand.

Ample volume of literature highlighted the importance of international student mobility all across the globe (Altbach &Knight, 2006; Agarwal et al., 2007; Wadhwa, 2016a, Wadhwa 2016b, Wadhwa, 2010; Altbach &Knight, 2006; Agarwal et al., 2007; Williams, 1981). Some of the most important rationales for student mobility highlighted by higher education institutions as well as policymakers are knowledge exchange, academic cooperation and quality enhancement. Increasing language skills, cultural skills, and developing mutual understanding are other vital rationales for encouraging mobility (Wadhwa, 2010). The latter types of aims are important motivations seen from the perspective of individuals. Students want to have an academically successful and personally rewarding sojourn abroad, and at the same time maintain or enhance their career opportunities (Yeravdekar, 2016; Rajkowa, 2017; Wadhwa, 2016 a). In this way, student mobility is the contextual aspiration of the individual to acquire educational needs from academically acclaimed institutions (Wadhwa, 2010, Wadhwa, 2016a).

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