The contributions of study abroad to home countries: an agential perspective

Yusuf Ikbal OLDAC*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Contributions to home country after international higher education (IHE) have long been considered within the traditional frameworks of brain drain or brain circulation. However, recent scholarship has hinted at more nuances into this issue than what has been predominantly discussed. This study focuses on IHE graduate agency to investigate the contributions of studying abroad to a home country. It builds from international-comparative fieldwork that included interviews with 50 recent Turkish IHE graduates who studied in four purposefully selected countries—Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Germany and the UK—and who either stayed or returned to their home country afterwards. The findings highlight the role of agency in IHE graduates’ contributions to their home country. Returning to the home country does not equate to contributing to it, as some participants expressed that they contribute better from abroad while others refuse to contribute even after returning. The study also demonstrates that combining individual agency with push–pull factors emanating from the home country provides a more holistic explanation, as the home country dynamics have been found to be influential on agential stances regarding contributions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalHigher Education
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the British Association for International and Comparative Education under Grant [number 20181101]. Further, this study is part of a wider doctoral study of the first author, which is funded by the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. The author has recently moved to Lingnan University to take up a Hong Kong Research Grants Council Postdoctoral Fellowship position funded by the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


  • International students
  • International higher education
  • Agency
  • Societal contributions
  • Turkey


Dive into the research topics of 'The contributions of study abroad to home countries: an agential perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this