The dramatic rise of international students is presumed to be a product of a globalizing world. The phenomenon of young people moving overseas to pursue higher education is an impulse similar to how trade transactions cross over foreign exchange markets. But, instead of goods and consumption, the impulse is driven by the concept that education is a “common property” that all of the humanity owns.
The influx of foreign students is fundamentally influenced by economic factors. Due to college tuition hikes in the US, for instance, students move to countries where education is either free or less costly.
But experts predict that the number of foreign students will eventually fall as countries impose stricter rules and higher standards for those who wish to study there. In the future, the following will be the major hurdles for those pursuing a transnational education:
New Cap on Foreign Students
Due to the massive population of international students, some countries are finding difficulties recovering the costs. Many of these students end up going back home to continue where they left off, while a fraction moves to another country in search of a better life.
While other countries are expanding international student numbers, countries like Singapore are capping to give way for local students. For the past few years, the small island nation has been quite generous with giving out bursaries and scholarships to foreign students, but at present, it is shifting its focus back on its local student population.
Language as a Barrier
While globalization certainly has far-reaching effects, it falls short on language. Right now, English is still the global world’s scholarly language. Academics argue that this is a bad thing, especially for science and technology, as there many scientists and intellectuals who are still not quite comfortable with English.
Quite a number of foreign students argue that using English tends to constrain their thinking and writing. Another barrier is that Anglosphere countries impose stringent requirements for a student’s English proficiency. Those who are less proficient would need to take pathway courses first before they could enroll in a course, where the only medium of instruction is English.
However, Lingua Technologies International notes that there are many countries, such as Singapore, that are slowly embracing bi- and multilingualism. The same goes for most European countries. Students who wish to enjoy the low tuition fees in France and Germany will have to learn a certain level in French and German, respectively.
But, as a product of an increasingly globalized economy, the future of transnational education is difficult to predict. It strongly depends on each country’s economic situation, as well as political and cultural factors.