State of Student Recruitment 2022
Is Asia a target market for your international student recruitment? Our findings will help update your understanding of how students from Asia are thinking about study abroad and making decisions in 2022 and beyond.
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Our Global Student Survey reached 4,397 prospective students across Asia and more than 20,000 students from around the world overall. View respondent data and customize country groupings with our State of Student Recruitment Dashboard to find out more about specific regions or countries.
East Asia: China (Mainland), Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, South Korea, Taiwan
South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam
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- Germany’s 70.9% rise in prospective Asian student interest leads the destination to become more popular in Asia overall than anywhere else
- Germany is second-most desired destination for East Asian students this year (13.1%) after the United Kingdom (25.4%)
- There are more students in Asia than anywhere else interested in studying Tourism & Hospitality at the undergraduate (8.8%) and postgraduate (7.3%) degree levels
- More than double the amount of Asian students are planning to start studying overseas ‘this year’, making the total proportion planning to study either this year or next year reach 85.1%
- East Asia has the highest proportion of students in the world motivated by attending a highly ranked school or program (29.9%) and by getting a visa for another country (23.1%)
- The school has fallen in importance as a first consideration by 38.7% after steady rises over the prior three years as students are considering the program and country more this year in Asia overall
- More than a third of South Asians consider the country first (37.3%) and 26.1% of East Asians consider a school first, both of which are the highest proportions in the world for their respective consideration
- Students interested PhD or Doctorate degrees have the highest proportion of interest in YouTube (8.8%) than anywhere else in the world
Study Abroad Trend Overview
Top Destinations: Germany’s 70.9% rise in prospective Asian student interest leads the destination to become more popular in Asia overall than anywhere else
When looking at preferred study destinations chosen by prospective students in Asia over the last few years, the United Kingdom stands out at the top once again after increasing in popularity by 27.2% since 2021. Over a quarter of East Asians indicated their interest in studying abroad in the UK this year (25.4%).
The United States and Canada have also retained their spots in the top three despite slight drops in interest. South Asian students in particular have a higher interest in studying abroad in the United States (13.9%) and Canada (12.1%) than Asian students from other regions.
Comparing the region of Asia to other global regions shows that there is more student interest in Germany (10.7%) and Australia (8.8%) as destinations than anywhere else. Germany is poised to edge into the top three after experiencing a 70.9% rise in prospective Asian student interest overall. In East Asia, 13.1% chose Germany as their top destination, making Germany the second-most desired destination in this region. Southeast Asian students have higher preferences for Australia than in other Asian regions, where 12.3% of student interest makes Australia the second-most popular study abroad country in Southeast Asia after the UK.
A few other countries have seen some larger changes from last year’s data. Italy is 37.6% more popular in Asia, which mostly stems from South Asian students (5%). Switzerland has become more popular as a destination by 56.7%, especially in East Asia (3.3%). Big drops off the board are Japan (-51.3%) and South Korea (-75.2%), though Southeast Asian students’ interest in Japan and South Korea remains relatively high (5% and 3.4% respectively).
Top Programs: There are more students in Asia than anywhere else interested in studying Tourism & Hospitality at the undergraduate (8.8%) and postgraduate (7.3%) degree levels
The most desired study abroad programs for Asian students varies depending on the type of degree they are searching for. Several degree subjects are more popular in Asia than anywhere else. For students looking for undergraduate degrees, Asian students show the highest global proportions of interest in Business & Administration (19.1%), Business Studies (12.1%), and Tourism & Hospitality (8.8%).
For postgraduate-interest students, the degree subjects of Business & Administration (24.8%), Computer Science & IT (14.8%), Engineering (13.9%), Business Studies (12.7%), and Tourism & Hospitality (7.3%) are at their highest in Asia as well. There are also more Asian students looking to study Engineering (12.6%) in a PhD/Doctorate program than in any other global region.
A global comparison demonstrates that Asia is the only world region where Tourism & Hospitality reaches into the top ten study subjects for students interested in undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Fashion is also a relatively rare subject to see in the top ten. Only students from Asia, the United Kingdom, and Ireland showed high enough interest in Fashion for it to appear in their top 10 undergraduate programs study subjects this year.
Student Journey: More than double the amount of Asian students are planning to start studying overseas ‘this year’ than in 2021, making Asia the region with the most students ready to head overseas in 2022
Interest in studying abroad sooner rather than later has bounced back this year. Asian students planning to start studying overseas ‘this year’ increased by 193.9%, making Asia the region with the most students ready to head overseas in 2022. The total proportion of students planning to study either ‘this year’ or ‘next year’ reaches 85.1%.
Nearly half (45.1%) of Asian students also indicated that they will begin to research their study options less than six months before they submit an application. When combining this proportion with those looking at researching 6 months to one year in advance, the total grows to 82.6%.
Top Motivations: East Asia has the highest proportion of students in the world motivated by attending a highly ranked school or program (29.9%) and by getting a visa for another country (23.1%)
Last year’s top motivation for Asian students to study abroad, to achieve career goals, remains at the top in Asia and reaches the highest proportion in the world overall (56.2%). South Asia carries this trend when diving into differences within Asia, where 60.3% of students are motivated by the possibility of achieving career goals.
Several motivations have increased in importance in Asia overall, including to ‘attend a top ranked program or university’ (+20%), ‘get a visa to live in another country after graduating’ (+5.8%), and having ‘more study options’ (+63.2%). East Asia has the highest proportion of students in the world motivated by attending a highly ranked school or program (29.9%) and by getting a visa for another country (23.1%).
When it comes to what Asian students perceive to be the most helpful resources for them during the decision-making process, changes are minimal in the region overall. Scholarships and funding information continue as the most helpful resource for Asian students (59.7%), especially for those from Southeast Asia (67.3%). Comparing the data across other world regions shows that career and personality tests (19.8%) and social media (19.3%) are more often seen as helpful resources for study abroad decision-making in Asia than for students from other continents.
Top Considerations: The school has fallen in importance as a first consideration by 38.7% after steady rises over the prior three years as students consider the program and country more this year in Asia overall
Asian students placed the study abroad program and country as first considerations more often this year with respective increases of 11.9% and 8.5%. More than a third of South Asians consider the country first (37.3%), the highest proportion in the world. The trend reverses when looking at the school, which has fallen in importance by 38.7% after steady rises over the prior three years. The differences between Asian regions is huge, where 26.1% of East Asians consider a school first (the highest global proportion) and only 11.6% of South Asians and 15.5% of Southeast Asian students do the same.
This year’s survey also shows changes in the aspects of a program that Asian students find most important. For students who consider the program first, this year’s preferences show that the program’s reputation or ranking has dropped in importance for Asian students overall by 30%. Looking at this number more deeply shows that almost a third of East Asian students continue to prioritize ranking (32.2%) and that only 20.3% of Southeast Asian students find them important. Southeast Asian students, however, are leaders in the increase of online delivery as an important program aspect, where 8.2% of students in this region prioritize this class mode - ultimately spurring a 138.3% increase of importance in this program factor overall.
The variation for class mode between Asian regions also becomes quite clear when students were asked about their preferred class mode. Southeast Asian students lead preferences for online classes in Asia (7.9%), and this group also shows the second-highest preference for mixed or hybrid classes globally (44.5%), only second to Ireland (48.7%). In contrast, more students in South Asia than anywhere else in the world prefer in-person classes (72.8%) with the third-highest global proportion coming from East Asia (66.7%) while only 47.6% of Southeast Asian students prefer the same.
Top Influences: Students interested PhD or Doctorate degrees have the highest proportion of interest in YouTube (8.8%) than anywhere else in the world
Looking at Asian students’ preferences for social media platforms looks quite different depending on their study level of interest. From the graph alone, it is visible that the spread of interest is very broad as compared to other world regions.
Asian students interested in postgraduate degrees abroad have a fairly even interest in learning more about a university on Instagram and Facebook, with LinkedIn just below. Asian students interested in PhD or Doctorate studies are not only also highly interested in these three platforms, but also show the highest proportion of interest in YouTube (8.8%) than anywhere else in the world. Undergraduate-interested Asian students show a much higher preference for getting more information from Instagram and Facebook than on LinkedIn. For students who chose ‘Other’, Whatsapp and Email were the most common answers.
To understand the student perspective in this region more deeply, we asked: What are some common challenges for you and other students from your country who want to study abroad? Each response indicates the student's nationality, age, and highest completed degree level underneath.
- "Expensive tuition fees and loads of paperwork"
- Nepalese; 26-35; Bachelor's degree
- "Problems like prior preparations for application and complete knowledge of the procedure"
- Indian; 22-25; Graduate degree or higher
- "Culture shift, homesickness and the steep learning curve with the local language that you must take"
- Filipino; 18-21; High school degree or equivalent
We also asked: What might encourage you to study abroad?
- “Talking with a person from my country in the same university”
- Indian; 22-25; Graduate degree or higher
- “More accessible scholarships and informations about them”
- Japanese; 26-35; Bachelor's degree
- “If it can help to develop my future career or business internationally”
- Malaysian; 22-25; Bachelor's degree