International students’ destination choices are changing as they react to “recent geopolitical events”, which could allow for Canada to overtake the UK as the preferred destination in some regions and in terms of actual student numbers, the latest research by QS has found.
Based on a total of 16,560 responses to the QS 2016-2017 Applicant Survey, the report highlighted a shift in destination choice for students in some target regions, together with some changes in the factors that drive students’ decisions and their priorities for higher education.
The US and the UK remain the top study destinations overall, ranking first and second respectively, followed by Canada, Australia and Germany.
According to the report, however, Canada is replacing the UK as the second most popular destination for applicants in Latin America, Asia Pacific and Africa and the Middle East.
“It is interesting to see student preferences change this year, particularly in the context of the recent geopolitical events in the US and the UK,” report author and QS Market Insights manager Dasha Karzunina said.
Student mobility patterns, the report noted, are “on the precipice of transformation.”
Where it has not replaced the UK, Canada has risen up the ranks significantly, as is the case in Western Europe where it has knocked the Netherlands off the top-five.
QS spokesperson Jack Moran told The PIE News that Canada’s success is a “multi-causal phenomenon” encompassing lower fees, high quality of student experience, and the global perception of Canada “as a country that remains committed to liberal immigration policy”.