International Student Decision Making: The Role of Friendship and Kinship Networks

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Over the course of the last two decades unprecedented numbers of students have chosen to leave their home countries and pursue higher education overseas. As a result, they are increasingly part of international knowledge networks, which provide them with the opportunity to study (almost) anywhere they wish, provided they have the capital to do so. My doctoral research investigates the motivations behind these mobilities and how students choose where to study. It shows that international student decision making is of a composite nature. While the reputation of the university, cost of studying and job prospects all have a role to play, students are also influenced by the opinions and advice of those around them, building up complex ideas of place through these social networks. The individuals involved are diverse: friends, family and, at times, even relative strangers, share knowledge which they have gained either through their first-hand experience of studying overseas or based upon geographical imaginings they have constructed through their own networks. This paper seeks to establish how these friendship and kinship networks are embedded within the decision making of international students by drawing upon evidence from three UK universities. In short, students are influenced by a diverse range of networks when deciding to study overseas and the participants involved offer information, not only about the universities and courses at their disposal, but the cities and the regions as well.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2012
Event32nd International Geographical Congress - Cologne , Germany
Duration: 26 Aug 201230 Aug 2012


Conference32nd International Geographical Congress


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