The future of international student mobility

  • Vincent CARPENTIER (Chair)
  • Rachel BROOKS (Speaker)
  • Jenna MITTELMEIER (Speaker)
  • MOK, K. H. (Speaker)
  • Aline COURTOIS (Speaker)

Activity: Talks or PresentationsOther Invited Talks or Presentations


International student mobility has greatly expanded and diversified over the last few decades. It also currently faces a series of ongoing economic, social, (geo)political and environmental challenges which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Contemporary discussions point to the importance and vulnerability of international student mobility while also debating the need for transformations. In this panel, our four speakers will reflect on some key aspects of the future of international mobility with a focus on the questions of inequality and migration.

Rachel Brooks will discuss objectives in the UK and elsewhere to open up international student mobility to a more diverse group of students. She will assess progress towards this goal, but suggest that although there are some signs of participation widening, this has been accompanied by a greater stratification of opportunities, with those from more advantaged backgrounds more likely to be found in higher quality/status schemes. Ka Ho Mok will reflect upon the future of international higher education from geo-political and sociopsychological perspectives. In a context where the COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the discussion about a global crisis for higher education associated with inequality, based on a survey on Asian students’ overseas learning preferences he will identify and discuss the major factors that shape the students’ destination choices and their desires for international education. Aline Courtois will examine the future of student exchange programmes in Europe. She will discuss how short-term student mobility is (re-)shaped by higher education institutions as they grapple with diminished resources and an increased emphasis on quantitative participation targets. Drawing on a study conducted in Ireland, she examines how the Erasmus ‘year abroad’ is promoted and managed within the constraints of marketised higher education institutions, and how it is re-shaped as a result. Her findings show that the ‘year abroad’ has become shorter, dis-embedded from academic programmes, and stratified as the offer expands and diversifies within an unequal system. Jenna Mittelmeier will discuss how the relationship between public perceptions and political discourses may (or may not) shape future international student mobility. International student mobility has historically shown to be both reactive and resilient. This has been particularly highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic, where student mobility restrictions in countries such as the US and Australia saw sharp drops in international enrolment, only to see hints of recovery as borders opened back up. Yet, she notes that anti-immigration political discourse is on the rise questioning whether future mobility will be influenced by students’ experiences with xenophobia while abroad. She will discuss research in many host countries demonstrating an increasingly mixed public perceptions about the value of international students.
Period24 May 2022
Event titleCGHE Annual Conference 2022: Higher Education Knowledge in a Plural World
Event typeConference
Degree of RecognitionInternational