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New research from IDP Connect finds that more than one-third of students surveyed (39 percent) rate Canada as their first choice for post-secondary studies, followed by the US and UK (both at 17 percent) and Australia at 16 percent. Moreover, 69 percent of respondents rank Canada as their most considered study destination. The UK comes in a distant second with 48 percent and Australia and the US are tied in third with 46 percent each. The results come at a time when the US has surpassed Canada for international student demand share across IDP Connect’s suite of student-facing websites, indicating continuing competition between the two North American countries.

The “New Horizons” research, which was conducted by IDP Connect and surveyed 3650 students from 55 countries in late August and early September, sheds light on student motivations for studying abroad as we move closer to a post-pandemic world.

The research finds that students are mainly motivated by future career opportunities in their study destination, while the decision of which institution to apply to and what subject to study are financially driven. A majority of students who choose the United States as a top option prioritize the quality of teaching (69 percent), ability to work part-time while studying (66 percent), and the cost of living (65 percent).

An overwhelming 81 percent of international students surveyed for the research say they are focusing on overseas on-campus options, while 18 percent of students are comfortable commencing their studies online provided there is a pathway for on-campus learning. Only 10 percent of respondents say they will consider staying in their home country to complete a fully online-only study program.

Simon Emmett, CEO at IDP Connect, says that countries that offer students clear outcomes for their investment in their education and a pathway to on-campus study will benefit most from the demand for overseas study.

“These latest results reinforce students’ desire to gain an overseas qualification and the rich cultural and educational benefits that come with doing so. However, students want to be clear about the value and the outcomes they will gain. The countries and institutions that can offer and communicate clear pathways to employment or migration will be most popular as the world continues to re-open from the pandemic,” Emmett said.

After waning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the interest in international studies is quickly returning, with 71% of respondents noting that they intend to study abroad within the next year. “As vaccine mandates are implemented and international travel restrictions taper, we’re expecting destinations will see an influx of international students returning and continuing to participate in the opportunities offered both on and off campus,” says Jonah Duffin, Director of External Relations, IDP Connect.

Download the New Horizons Infographic Report

The key findings from our New Horizons research are available to download as an infographic report here:

CP- Image - Person- Elle Butler
Elle Butler14 October 2021