AIEC conference invited session: International student mobility trends and implications for institutional strategies

I was invited to speak at the recent Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) in Melbourne. More than 1,500 international education professionals from around the world convened at the conference.

One of the key messages of my session on “Three Megatrends Shaping the Future of International Student Mobility” was that the number of students seeking global educational experiences will continue to increase. However, sustainable growth will require a deeper understanding of shifting profiles, needs, and expectations of international students.



International students take their global experiences and educational credentials as a pathway to advancing their career and improving their life. Moreover, career and employability outcomes in the host country through immigration or on return to home country are among the most important motivations to study abroad.

Several sessions at AIEC conference suggest that Australia has already recognized the value of career outcomes for international students and is synchronizing efforts to enhance their professional development opportunities. Here are some of the indicative titles of the sessions related to student employability and career-readiness.

Australian Government recently released National Strategy for International Education 2025. It states that “The employability of our graduates will be a key measure of success against Australia’s goal to be the global leader in education, training, and research. We will focus on developing employability and opportunities for work integrated learning, enhancing the nexus between education and employment.”

As competition for international students intensifies, nations and institutions cannot continue to charge a higher differential fee to international students and deliver unsatisfactory career outcomes. Higher education institutions and countries interested in recruiting international students can learn from Australian experiences which show that growing attractiveness for international students will require constantly thinking, planning and acting upon strategies that align with international student success.

Based on the summary of the Forbes article with Di Hu.

- Rahul Choudaha, PhD