The allure of global education remains strong

Sharon Butler
Sharon Butler
is EVP, Global Education at Flywire.

Despite the barriers of the past two academic years – travel restrictions, remote learning, and grounded planes to name just a few – college and university students worldwide are ready and eager to study abroad again.

That was one of the key takeaways from our recent report: Passport to Higher Education: A Global Payments Study, an independent commissioned study by Flywire that surveyed more than a thousand college and university students in five countries around the world, to get a better understanding of what a post-pandemic global education market looks like. While responses from the United States, China, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia differed slightly on several questions, overall results from students signaled an eagerness to pack their bags and study somewhere new.

Students are, and want to be, studying abroad

Our report found that 63% of students surveyed were planning to integrate studying abroad into their higher education experience. That figure was divided into two camps: 30% of people who were currently studying abroad, and 33% of people who were planning to in the future.

China was by far the leader in demand for global education experiences. A whopping 76% of students surveyed said that studying abroad was or would be a part of their higher education experience, and almost half – 47% - were already doing so, despite the ongoing pandemic.

The U.K. and the U.S. slightly trailed China with 65% and 64% of students integrating global education into their curriculum, respectively. Australian and Canadian students follow at 54% each. These high percentages from key regions of the world signal overall industry strength.

An education experience like no other

Two things stood out when we asked people why they wanted to study abroad: cultural experiences and their academic reputations. 47% of students responded that a new cultural experience was one of the main reasons driving them to another country, and 43% said that they thought it would have a positive impact on their academics or how their education was perceived. Other reasons cited by undergraduates included the on-campus experience (38%), value for the cost (38%), and location (29%).

Chinese students, who have by far the highest demand for global education, overwhelmingly cited cultural experiences and academic reputation as their reasoning for travel, at 66% each.

In-person learning is here to stay

Despite a pandemic-induced leap into remote and online learning, all indications point to in-person learning reclaiming its prominence in higher education. When asked about which style of learning gave them the most fulfillment, 51% of students said that being in person was the most fulfilling. Another 33% said that a hybrid model was the most fulfilling, and only 16% indicated they preferred online learning. Students shared about the same preference for in-person learning in each country, at 50%, with the exception of China, where students favored it at 63%.

All and all, students remain optimistic and eager about international education. It offers an experience like no other, and students are ready to get back onto planes and into classrooms in parts of the world they’ve never seen before.

Want to learn more?

We invite you to check out the following resources to discover why Flywire is the Trusted Choice of millions of students, thousands of institutions and hundreds of education agents and partners worldwide: