Will Improvements in Education Encourage Students to Study at Home?

I wanted to share this response to our Don’t Study in the U.S. series from a few weeks ago, in which we discussed some of the pros and cons of coming to America for higher education.  Ting replied in the comments:

Studying abroad has been considered as the best option amongst parents thinking their kids might excel more or could land a better career in the future but i always find it impractical for only few are capable financially. If only other countries particularly in Asia or perhaps in Africa, if their governments would give enough education support, studying abroad or in one’s country makes no difference.

(There were many other interesting comments on that series as well – worth checking out if you haven’t yet)

It’s worth pointing out that many countries are already jumping into the international education game, including many that haven’t traditionally attracted international students.  And some students may be surprised to find their own country is among those hoping to make their education system more attractive.

When we interviewed Shu Wen Teo, international student and editor of the Malaysia Scholarship Blog, she said that she was interested to find out that Romania offers scholarships for international students, because she knows Romanian students who came to the U.S. because they couldn’t get enough financial aid back home.  And Shu Wen herself is from Malaysia, a country that has been attracting more and more international students recently.  Our own Alex Busingye did his undergraduate education in Malaysia, and told me he found out about opportunities there because they were heavily advertised in his native Uganda.

The New York Times wrote an article earlier this year about the rise of “brain exchange” (in contrast to “brain drain”) – the U.S. share of international students is decreasing as lower costs and comparable (or comparable-enough) degrees attract students to other countries.  It will be interesting to see whether this shift also encourages more students to stay home for education as their own schools become near enough in quality to foreign ones.