Choosing Where to Study: International Students’ Perceptions of Place

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Over the last two decades, governmental reforms, technological advancements and improved systems of communication have played a role in the internationalisation of higher education. Students are increasingly part of an international knowledge network, which allows them to study (almost) anywhere they wish, provided they have funds to do so. The associated benefits of improving international student recruitment are well documented (see Gribble 2008); leading to a wealth of economic returns, while supporting the development of (intercultural communication) skills amongst the local student population, preparing them for a global workplace. Nonetheless our knowledge of the geographies surrounding international student decision making remains thin, with little understanding of how perceptions of place play a role in students’ choice of university. A greater command of these geographies could lead to the tailoring of universities’ internationalisation and marketing policies, demonstrating their comparative advantages over other institutions. This paper uses information from my current doctoral research to demonstrate how geography plays an intimate role within student decision-making. Using evidence from research conducted with international students at Queen’s University, Belfast, the University of Nottingham and the University of Aberdeen, it demonstrates how students are attracted to different regions within the UK not only as a result of economic drivers, but also due to notable cultural influences. At a time when the future of higher education funding remains uncertain, and with many UK universities offering, what they claim to be, a high quality education, such information demonstrates how HEIs can exploit these local factors to improve international student recruitment.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2011
EventRGS-IBG Annual Conference 2011 - London, United Kingdom
Duration: 30 Aug 20112 Sept 2011


ConferenceRGS-IBG Annual Conference 2011
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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