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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

International student mobility: drivers, patterns and impacts

Alternative title: Internasjonal studentmobilitet: bakgrunn, mønstre og konsekvenser

Awarded: NOK 12.1 mill.

Internationalization and student mobility is high on the agenda of higher education policy in Norway. Quality, but also relevance, are important rationales for facilitating international student mobility (ISM). In this project, we look at conditions facilitating ISM, and impacts of ISM to and from Norway. We focus on to what extent current practices and effect are in line with policy goals for mobility. Below we report results from selected publications. PARADOXICAL ATTRACTION? WHY AN INCREASING NUMBER OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS CHOOSE NORWAY (article). Norway has become a more attractive destination for international students, due to that Internationalization has increasingly become a part of HE policy and that more programmes and courses in English has been established. Also important is that most HEIs in Norway are public, and do not charge tuition fees. International students report teaching in English and absence of tuition fees as important reasons to study in Norway, while reputation of teaching and research is less important. This shows that non-academic and pragmatic rationales are more prominent that motivation related to quality. ATTRACTING INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS TO SEMIPHERIPERAL COUNTRIES: A COMPARATIVE STUDY OF NORWAY, POLAND AND PORTUGAL. A comparison of policies for inward student mobility shows different patterns in national strategies. All three countries have strategies that diverge from traditional study destinations like the UK and the USA. Norway has focused on internationalisation since the late 1980-ies. National and institutional policies have become more closely coupled, and normative rationales are emphasized. Poland and Portugal have developed national policies for recruiting international students more recently and rest more on more instrumental rationales (economic, political). All three countries draw on their comparative advantages. Poland recruits many students from neighbouring Ukraine, Portugal from its former colonies, while Norway targets student from a broader spectrum of countries. POLICY FRAMING OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MOBILITY IN THE NORDIC COUNTRIE shows that the rationales for ISM policies in the Nordic countries have diverged. Denmark and Finland increasingly emphasize economic rationales, while Sweden and Finland still rest more on educational rationales. INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS IN NORWAY: SATISFACTION, COPING AND SOCIAL NETWORKS finds that international students in Norway are generally satisfied with studying in Norway, quality of teaching in particular. Exchange students are more satisfied than full degree students, and the level of satisfaction vary by region of origin. FAMILY BACKGROUND AND THE LIKELIHOD OF PURSUING A UNIVERSITY DEGREE ABROAD: HETEROGENEITY IN EDUCATIONAL FIELDS shows that Norwegians who study medicine, arts and business administration abroad generally have parents with high education and high income. Parental income is more important for art students than the other groups. THOSE WHO LEAVE AND THOSE WHO STAY: FEATURES OF INTERNATIONALLY MOBILE VS. DOMESTIC STUDENTS compares Norwegian students abroad to students in Norway regarding social origin, grades from upper secondary school and motivation. Results show that social origin and grades are overall similar, though with some variation between different educational groups. But mobile students diverge substantially from mobile students regarding motivation INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MOBILITY AND THE TRANSITION FROM HIGHER EDUCATION TO WORK IN NORWAY explores if being an exchange student abroad has an impact on the likelihood of unemployment and mismatch. Results show that those with good grades, and those who have studied business and administration tend to benefit somewhat more from education from abroad. EMPLOYABILITY: HOW EDUCATION ABROAD IMPACTS THE TRANSITION TO GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT investigates potential impacts of education from abroad for labour market outcomes. Research literature indicates that the impact is generally low, though graduates that have studied abroad tend to claim that they possess certain abilities that employers are searching for. The chapter underscores the need for studies comparing mobile and non-mobile students - across countries. MOBILISING INTERNATIONAL STUDENT MOBILITY: EXPLORING POLICY ENACTMENTS IN TEACHER EDUCATION IN NORWAY analyses the internationalisation of HE through the lens of ISM, by exploring how ISM is realised in contexts that are shaped by different needs, purposes and actors. Findings show that ISM is mainly understood in terms of its professional relevance for students future teaching practice, but that this understanding increasingly competes with both academic and bureaucratic purposes. The analysis suggests that both programme-specific and more general contextual factors influence the enactments of mobility and that the preconditions for internationalisation may vary across higher education contexts, a point rarely addressed by policymakers.


The project will study drivers and consequences of international student mobility in a Norwegian context. Practices, patterns and outcomes of student mobility are addressed, and we will discuss whether results are consistent with the policy rationale for student mobility. Four interrelated work packages (WPs) are included. WP1 investigates how shaping national and institutional policies interacts with international developments such as the educational policies of the EU, globalisation and marketization of higher education. WP2 focuses on mobile students (outgoing and incoming: their background, rationales for studying abroad, and assessments of quality and learning environment. The WP also discusses the extent to which student mobility serves as a tool for enhancing quality in Norwegian higher education. WP3 investigates labour market effects of international student mobility. Graduates who have undertaken the entire, or parts of their higher education abroad are compared to graduates without such experience, with a particular focus on variations by subject field. Survey and register data are applied; the latter providing new insights into career development over time. Analyses of an international graduate survey, EUROGRADUATE, will provide a useful comparative perspective. WP4 is an in-depth study aiming to identify drivers and barriers at the programme level, and deepen the understanding of how mobility is interpreted and experienced among academic staff, mobile and non-mobile students. The WP addresses implementation and justification of mobility strategies in a professional programme with weak traditions for mobility. i.e. teaching. The cases will be teaching programmes in Norway as well as other Nordic countries. The project has a sound empirical basis. We have access to a range of unique quantitative data allowing innovative analyses. Qualitative approaches are applied in case studies, and for in-depth understanding of rationales and experiences.

Publications from Cristin

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren